Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pucker Up!

Well, you know, I do love a good pickle, especially in my sandwich fixin's. So today, when youngest dotter, Patti, brought me a batch of lemon cukes from their bumper crop, I thought, "Gee, there must be an easy way to pickle these puppies." Because, you also know, I like my food preparation to be fast and easy. All that muss and fuss with regular canning is simply not on my list of Things I'm Eager To Do.

Nothing for it, then, but to Google for the appropriate refrigerator pickle recipe. I can't tell you I've got a bingo on it yet because the pickles have only been in the refrigerator for an hour or so. They sure smell good, though. And, Lord knows, they were definitely fast and easy.

This is one of those gigs where you play the amounts by ear. I made enough to fill a 1-quart freezer bag so you take it from there. In this case, 2 of the lemon cucumbers, lattice-sliced, were enough to do the job.

The recipe I found calls for 2 cups water and 1/3 cup vinegar. At that point, Patti and grandson James assured me a friend had told my son-in-law, Roger, to just use straight vinegar -- no water at all. "Are you sure?" I asked. "Absolutely. Roger says they taste great and they 'pickle' quicker." Hmmm. Okay. Whuddahey. If the vinegar comes across too strong, water can always be added later. I merrily splashed in enough vinegar to just cover the cuke slices in the bowl. Pucker power, that's what I say.

Then I added 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, approximately 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, about a teaspoon of dill and probably another teaspoon of dried chili peppers. Gave it a good stir and had James hold the plastic bag while I spooned everything in. It just fit.

So it's doing its pickling thing as we speak and sometime tomorrow I'll give it the first taste test. Might want to add a bit more of this or that or the other thing. On the other hand, I might want to call the Poison Control Center. I'll let you know.

On another front, more fun and games with the water gel crystals. I loaded another 1-quart freezer bag with hydrated crystals and designated it as my homemade heat/cold pack. First I nuked it, 30 seconds at a time, until it reached what seemed to be the appropriate temperature. The final total was 2 minutes but if you do this, I recommend the 30-second segments because different microwaves do things at different speeds, okay?

I have this terrycloth bag made from a kitchen towel that is the perfect size to use as a comfort cover for the pack. Forgot to note the time but the pack held its heat for a good hour I think. Once it completely cooled down, I tossed it in the freezer. It freezes up just beautifully and, once again, slipped into the terrycloth cover, it performs perfectly.

This is a comfort to me. If I strain myself fixing pickles, I already have the healing heat/cold pack in place, ready to go. You can see it below, in its cold mode. Schweet.


John Bailey said...

I like the bag, Dee. We have a few cushions in a style/body that look to be very similar. I'll be sure to include photos when we do the big house clean/tidy/photograph session in October.

I'll be following the pickled progress avidly -- I love pickles!

bonnie said...

Well now that is a use of the crystals I could have.

Dee said...

It's hard not to like that Southwestern style, John. I'll keep an eye out for your cushion photos. And you keep an eye out for the next post -- lots of pickle stuff for ya!

Bonnie, I thought about you with the heat/cold pack. I like that sort of thing over an electric heating pad because you're not tied down to the length of the cord. I just hate leashes, don't you? (smile)