Out of all the things I can each year (23 quarter-pints, 62 half-pints, 71 pints, 25 quarts in 2009, just in case you were wondering), I love pickles the most. Dill pickles, specifically. Cucumber pickles, green bean pickles, okra pickles, carrot pickles- I love them all.
It's amazing how just a few simple ingredients can transform these vegetables into amazing salty-tart treats. And this year I have a couple of new developments in my pickling process. And so many cucumbers I can barely keep up.
1. Parisian Pickling Cucumber plants (seeds from Seed Saver's Exchange)
If there's anything better than a gigantic super-tart pickle, it's a little teeny tiny pickle. Cornichons definitely win the award for most adorable pickles and I'm really excited to be harvesting enough to can. These are kind of weird looking, compared to regular pickling cucumbers- long and spindly with very dense spines that need to be rubbed off.
2. Crazy amounts of dill
I might have gone a bit overboard with the dill planting this year, but last year I had to buy some dill because I ran out for pickling and didn't get to dry much either. It's just silly to have a garden and buy dill. Pure silliness. So this year I have a field of dill.
3. A Chinese pickling jar
I need another crock in my kitchen like I need a hole in the head, but I considered this different enough to justify clearing off some counter space. My coworker found these online and we shared some shipping costs to get them- they're genius! No more scum/mold/yeast/stuff on top of my pickles because the glass lid inverts on the top and sits in a rim of water- this keeps out the nasty microorganisms without sealing the air inside the jar...It escapes with a little burping sound! The shape of the jar helps keep the pickles under the brine, too. So I'm splitting my cukes between fermented pickling and vinegar pickling.
4. A prickly cucumber rash
I think sticking my arms into a huge mess of cucumber vines every day is really irritating my skin! I get really itchy for an hour or so after harvesting! It's true that pickling cucumbers have really plentiful spines/hairs. I guess they're just bothering me more this year. I'm thinking about using long dishwashing gloves when I pick!
I'll spare you a photo of my itchy forehead from this afternoon's harvest.