Monday, 29 August 2011

Let’s Get Pickled!

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to make pickles.  I have pickled cucumbers, pumpkin, beans, fennel, beets, peaches, pears and the list goes on and on.  I especially like to try new recipes.  In today’s environment a lot of us do not have the time to make pickles the old fashioned way.  There are also so many varieties available in the grocery stores that the need to make home made is almost an extinct part of our culture.  However for me pickling is like an art form.  I like nothing better than to look at the finished product and to serve them as part of a Thanksgiving and Christmas day condiment tray.   I like to make quick pickles.  The following recipe is for one jar of a quick pickle recipe.

Tarragon pickles

6 mini English cucumbers * any small cucumbers will do
3 sprigs of tarragon
2 cups of vinegar
1/3 cup of sugar
A small dried red chili pepper or red chili flakes  
2 teaspoons of course salt

Quarter the cucumbers and place them with the tarragon into the jar.  It is easier to place the jar on its side as you slide in the cucumbers. Heat the vinegar, sugar, pepper, and salt in a saucepan stirring it over medium heat until it is dissolved. Pour it over the pickles and then seal the jar.  Once it has cooled down put it into the refrigerator and leave them for at least one month or longer before you eat them.

The following recipe is for a quick pickle salad made by my Aunt Sophia a lovely woman, to serve as part of a summer meal.  My Grandmother Vegso would put the same   salad into jars, refrigerate and eat up until Christmas.  What a special treat and as fresh as the day she first bottled them.

Aunt Sophia’s Style Uborka Salata

My Great Aunt Sophia was an amazing cook.   She was married to my Great Uncle Gabriel Vegso who was my Granddad Vegso’s brother.  Prior to their marriage, she was a cook in Budapest at the Great Palace, before it was destroyed by fire in 1945.   She would make a delicious version of cucumber salad that we always ate when we visited their home. 

2 medium or large cucumbers
1 teaspoon of  salt
¼ teaspoon of white sugar
1/4 cup of white vinegar
¼ teaspoon of  garlic powder
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
½ teaspoon of black pepper
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Peel the cucumbers and slice them very thinly into a large bowl. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and then place a plate over them and put a five pound weight on top of the plate to weigh it down.  I use a couple of cans of tomatoes as the weights.   Let the salted cucumbers sit for 60 minutes.   Then remove the weights and the plate and then squeeze out the water from the cucumbers and put them onto a paper towel.
Combine the sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, and the water into a bowl. Add the cucumbers and marinate them for a few hours. To serve, sprinkle the paprika, black pepper and cayenne over the top of the cucumber salad and mix it in.

Note: Instead of garlic powder, a thinly sliced onion may be used.   My Grandmother would also thinly slice a hot banana pepper and add that to the cucumber salad.

"On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar."Thomas  Jefferson


marie said...

The recipes look good but I've always stayed away from pickles because it looked like more work but I'll give these a try.

Anonymous said...

My grandparents were from Sweden and always made their own pickles. My mother was lazy and didn't. LOL

I'll give at least one of these a try! Thanks, Gloria.