Preserving The Summer


Wouldn’t it just be the way, when I was confronted with this and a box of dusty, old canning jars:
“I’m presuming I can finally recycle these?”

We were down in the basement purging of it’s overwhelming accumulation to free up movement to the laundry and the like. By the dust streaks, one could obviously conclude I hadn’t done much in the way of preserving for some time. As fate would have it, upon conceding to the disposal, my neighbour showed up with more jars. Then the strawberry season was heavenly, peach baskets were sweet and overflowing and the Mennonite farmer at the market, had the crispest, greenest basket of miniature cucumbers I’d seen.
They were calling my name – I swear to you, they were.

As far as I can remember back I’ve been a bit of a pickle connoisseur. Kosher Dills, Polski Ogorkis, Baby Dills, Cornichons… I even remember the market unveiling of Vlasic’s extra crunchy pickles.
Man, what a breakthrough.
I can clearly recall a monstrosity of a pickle found, I believe Strubs. Being about six, it was probably the size of my foot, I kid you not. This of course encouraged me to dig this, the largest pickle I’d ever seen, out from the jar. Besides, if anyone was going to go down as conquering this cuke, it would be me. Slowly but steadily, I devoured the soft, briney interior. My temporary embalming only ceased by my bedtime and the numbness in my mouth. I even recall carefully wrapping that treasure, carefully, and storing it away for morning.

Since then, the best pickles ever were from the same family who sold me the cucumbers this year to begin with. Even with pickles, good ingredients are still important. Size is also important, as I’ve long since abandoned volume for numbers. A perfect pickle is garlicky, dilly, crisp, small and must applaud all grilled cheese sandwiches they accompany flawlessly.
I’m just beginning to be able to open my stock of pickles and enjoy the harvest. Preserving is great fun. It’s really not the mess you’d imagine it to be. Plus a payoff that continues months on, is so worth it.

If you’d like to read of other savory preserved summers, visit The Passionate Cook for a round up of sealed greatness.