It Takes A Village…
…to figure out how to pickle.
This week, I decided to try my hand at pickling. After failing to find a pickle that even remotely measured up to my mama’s, I took it upon myself to try to recreate the flavors I remembered so long ago. After looking at her recipe(s), I realized that this process of perfection is one that’s going to take awhile. My mama had at least 4 variations of the recipe alone. From her recipe, as well as from advice from my dad and aunt, I discerned that salt wasn’t a huge factor in this recipe. So, I went with 4 cups of water to one cup of white vinegar and added a couple of small handfuls of salt. We (my awesomely kind cousin Susan helped out this week since my pops was out of town this past weekend) boiled that up and poured them over the medium-sized (though I’d venture to say they were more on the large side) pickling cucumbers and sealed up the jar. There isn’t much to the actual process, it’s just finding the right ratio of salt to vinegar.
We also added a couple of large Serrano peppers to the cucumbers before we added the brine. The peppers are supposed to be red vs. green in color, but those suckers are a lot harder to come by than I thought. So, I opted for the few that I found that were on their way to turning red eventually. We’ll see if that makes a difference at all.
I also made turnip pickles by chopping up fresh turnips in thinnish, half-moon shaped pieces and adding a little sliced beet (fresh) and the brine mixture I used for the cucumbers. The beets are what give the pickles their hot pink color – obviously.
I’m still unsure of the time frame for when the pickles will be ready. I’m assuming somewhere in the two week mark, but I’ve not been able to get an answer on that yet. Check back!! I’m sure you’ll be bursting with anticipation.
This week made me really aware of how important it can be to have knowledgeable cooks around to help you figure things out. I called a friend about the hot pepper dilemma (we weren’t sure which ones to use) and an aunt about the ratios. I consulted my dad about both. I’m sure I would eventually figure all this out on my own, but why should I go at something alone when I have people willing to help? It’s something I’m still working through, but it apparently does take a village to make me a decent cook.
I was sans a functioning camera this week, so pics are compliments of my phone. 🙂