I am just now reaping the bounty of my backyard garden.
Because the Hawthornes were traveling during April and May,
I didn't start planting anything until the first week in June.
So while most peoples' cucumbers have come and gone,
mine are producing mightily now.
Mr. Hawthorne and I have been looking forward
to doing a bit of canning;
however, I didn't want to end up
with a batch of Aunt Bee's pickles.
I turned to my friend Zzzadig,
my culinary guru, for guidance,
since I've had his pickles.
On our last Great Adventure across the United States,
we visited with Zzzadig on the way back
and he sent us on our merry way with a wonderful gift basket,
which included his pickles.
Zzzadig's Pickle Recipe
The basic solution is one 28 ounce bottle of rice wine vinegar + 4 ounces of apple cider vinegar to make one quart. Add 3 quarts of water and 1 scant cup of Kosher salt. Bring to rolling boil.
For pickles, I chill the cukes in ice water, pack into sterile jars to which has been added 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, some black peppercorns, coriander seed, one clove of clove, clipped dill, and a pinch of dried red pepper.
Once jars are packed, pour in the boiling solution and crank down the top. It should seal when cool. If not, keep that jar in the fridge. I just make a huge unsealed plastic container of pickles which are then stored in the fridge. Constant refrigeration negates the necessity of sealing.
Other veggies done in the same solution are parboiled for varying times before packing. Red peppers just a few minutes, okra until it is just al dente, carrots, hot peppers the same. Cut hot peppers can be made milder by using three baths of hot water to remove some of the heat. Cauliflower, carrots, peppers both sweet and hot make a nice gardinera.
Mr. Hawthorne sliced just picked cucumbers.
Chill in an ice water bath.
We chilled them for at least 20-30 minutes while
we got the rest of the ingredients together.
I picked a few items from the garden.
Sliced jalapenos went in the ice water with the cucumbers.
Next, Mr. Hawthorne peeled a bunch of garlic cloves.
I have coriander seeds, fresh dill,
and dried cayenne peppers
all from my garden,
I didn't have rice wine vinegar,
but I did have rice vinegar and rice wine.
I have enough pickles to fill 3 quart jars
so I'm scaling Zzzadig's recipe down to 48 ounces liquid
I had about a scant 1/4 cup of the rice wine,
about 14 ounces rice vinegar, 2 ounces cider vinegar,
a heaping half cup of Kosher salt,
and about a quart of water.
Bring to a boil.
Pour boiling mixture over cucumbers
in sterilized jars.
We ran the jars through the dish washer first,
then sterilized them and the lids in boiling water.
5-6 garlic cloves in each jar.
5-6 jalapeno slices
About a tablespoon of peppercorns.
A tablespoon of coriander.
A big sprig of dill.
Mr. Hawthorne started stuffing the jars.
Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers.
Mr. Hawthorne likes to invert the jars
for a minute or two.
A proud Mr. Hawthorne surveys his handiwork.
One of the sweetest sounds to my ears
is the sucking pop of a canning jar sealing.
I think Zzzadig said to wait a week or two
before consuming the pickles,
but, luckily for us,
one jar didn't seal.
I put it in the fridge
and I had to try one the next day.
It was divine.
Salty, crunchy, tart, spicy.
Like nothing you can get in the store.
If these were that good in one day,
I can't imagine what they'll be like
after they've had time to age a bit.
for a most foolproof and delicious pickle recipe.
These are most excellent pickles.
These are most excellent pickles.