I finally got around to making those pickles! Saturday morning was a classic NYC summer morning (hot and sunny but not humid at all), so I hauled my not-hungover (for once on a Saturday morning) ass to the greenmarket in my neighborhood and got pickle fixins.
It was nice to visit our weekly green market again, and to see it thriving (though I could have done without the long lines and Cadillac-style baby strollers clogging the street). I admit that I haven't been all summer, choosing instead to stop off at the Union Square market on my way home during the week. Don't judge me - it happens more frequently throughout the week and has more stuff!
Anyway, I got my cukes and jars all scrubbadubbed first.
Oh, don't mind me. I'm just mise-en-placing around.
Did you know that the blossom end of a cucumber may have enzymes in it that keep your pickle from staying crispy? Well, it's true. Cut them things off!
Cucumber Spears (Britney's more attractive cousin):
This is the part of pickling I don't like. Having to run all four burners on the stove and producing tons of steam when it's already 92 degrees outside. That's why I make pickles in my underwear, folks. I kid, I kid. Or do I??
I filled the sterilized jars with all the stuff I needed - garlic, fresh dill, a coupla hot peppers, and mustard seeds.
Then crammed those spears down in there:
I topped off the jars with the hot brine and processed them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes each. After I pulled them out, I didn't have to wait too long to hear that satisfying *ping!* of the vacuum seal popping the lid down. Every canner I know loves that sound.
This batch made 8 pint jars full, and I had some cucumbers left over to make quick pickles (on the left). I'm already enjoying those, and they're pretty delicious.
If anyone has any interest in canning, I'd highly recommend The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. I have several canning books in my arsenal, but since I don't have a yard and am not producing humongoid crops of produce that I need to preserve, this book is perfect. It gives recipes for canning a few jars of things at a time, which makes the whole process a lot less daunting (especially in a small kitchen).
I'll let y'all know how these come out in SIX-WEEKS. Ugh! A wise man once sang, "The waiting in the hardest part, ever day you see one more card. You take it on faith. You take it to the heart. Yeah, the waiting is the hardest part."
Wise, wise man.