Monday, September 5, 2011

A Picnic of Pickles

Between hurricanes, birthdays, and the general busyness of life, Mandi and I got a bit behind with our cooking, so we doubled up on recipes this week to make up for it. Somehow we chose tangy pickles and super sweet dessert bars, which I'm pretty sure are on as completely opposite ends of the recipe scale as one could get. At least we can't be accused of falling into a recipe rut.

Onto the pickles first. As I was slicing up the cucs for this recipe, I noticed that cucumbers are actually rather beautiful. The subtle greens inside, the contrast of the dark green skin, the delicate seeds. I found them to be of that type of beauty that is rare, unnoticed, and perhaps a little unusual...but beautiful all the same. But, a cucumber can be as beautiful as it wants to be and still be subjected to a recipe that lacks flavor and spark and interest. Fortunately, for my cucumbers, they were not subjected to such a fate. Their beauty was matched by a zesty marinade of spices and flavors that made them lovely to the eye and the taste buds.

Now, I did myself a disservice with this recipe and asked Mandi her opinion of the pickles before I actually made my own batch. She wasn't as completely thrilled with them as I was hoping she would be, and so, I assumed that they were lackluster and boring. This gave me very little motivation to make my own. But, eventually my curiosity got the best of me (that, along with the pressure that I really needed to get my blog post written, created, and posted). I started to wonder, what would these pickles taste like? Well, this afternoon gave me the answer to my question, as I concocted my batch. After several hours of sitting in their vinegar bath, I finally got to give them a taste. The opinion: Delightful, zesty, full of flavor, and much more pickle-like than I ever really hoped to achieve with this method of "quick-pickling." In the future, I might cut down on the onion, simply because I am not a huge fan of raw onions. But, all in all, I was impressed. This pickle recipe makes a nice Labor Day food, perfect for the final picnics of the season. Speaking of which, perhaps I shall pack up a few, along with some sandwiches, and stake out for just such a summer's-end-picnic with my little one. One must savor every last drop of summer. Likewise, one must also wait patiently for the marvelous crisp days of fall with its apples and pumpkins and butternut squashes. And, a picnic seems a good thing to do during this time of waiting. So, picnic we shall...with season-culminating, exceeds-expectation, beautiful, dill-flavored cucumber pickles.

*Note: I lessened the 8 cups of cucumbers to more like 5 or 6 cups, because Mandi had given me the heads-up that the "marinade" had a difficult time covering all of the cucumbers. I left all the measurements of the marinade as is.


  1. Another great read, Heather, and a delightful artistic rendition of the cucumber. I love these pickles!! I don't think I would change a thing, unless perhaps add a bit more sugar:) I think that might help Mandi to not have to deal with such a strong vinegar taste? Actually, they just keep getting better and better, the longer they sit in the jar:-)

  2. I'm anxious to give this a try. I love pickles but have always been a little scared to make my own. But your right, we do need something to get us through these last few "waiting" days to fall!


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