13 September 2009

Dilly PIckles

If flowering dill weren't so dern tasty when it's floating in a spicy brine, I'd put the stuff in vases all over my house. That yellow of the flowers is nearly the color of paint covering the walls of our living room and man, I cannot get enough.

Where was I? Oh yes, PICKLES. Usually I'm more of a refrigerator dills sort of a girl, thanks to the expert tutelage of my friend Gerik, but we really wanted to complete this trifecta of canning projects with something more savory. Tomato sauce seemed a bit risky and we'd heard mixed reviews of canned salsa, so with little hesitation we picked up this hefty bottle of vinegar at the store and mixed it up with several shades of carrot and bean.

Keeping with our habit of beer pairings, we sipped a dark porter whose name I can hardly recall. I swear that at the time the beverages were clouding our minds just enough to numb the swell of our ankles and dull our sense of time's passing, not enough to get sloppy in our sterilizing and incubate the makings of botulism. Promise.

In the end, this was probably our least successful of the three recipes, mostly because we lacked the foresight to anticipate how beautiful purple carrots when bathed in hot brine would turn the whole mess violet! Also, we should have erred on the side of stubby vegetables instead of tall ones because while processing them in boiling water, we lost some brine out of the jars. Now the tips of some of our vegetables protrude above their liquid, which is no way to craft a crunchy pickle. Worst case scenario, they'll grow mold. We were really too tired to worry much about it at the end of the day. Total cost for 8 quarts of pickles? $9. If they're inedible, we'll live.

From this insane project I believe we gleaned a few lessons:

1. Jam is best made in small batches to ensure you can get a nice pectinated result.
2. A dishwasher is not for chumps. It is one of modernity's conveniences and comes in handy for washing jars.
3. Refrigerator pickles are probably easier and just as tasty as canned ones. While living in California with year round produce, canning pickles may be actually unnecessary.
4. Three canning projects in one day is a bit of a stretch, but doable.
5. Holiday weekends are perfect settings for crazy projects.

{High Five!}


karinalane said...

butulism! :)

Mary Casper said...

ha! Butulism is now botulism. Thank you kindly!

Gerik Forston said...

#3, i agree.
couldn't have said it better [more jealously] myself.