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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pickles Anyone?

The saying, the longer you live, the more you learn, is so true!!!

Growing up, I ate a wealth of homemade canned jams, jellies, cha-cha (chow chow), pickles, both grandmothers made. Although I ate a lot of it, I can't say I ever helped make any. That was until yesterday.

My girls and I set out to make kosher pickles. I guess you can call it another first. We had the little cucumbers just for pickling, and a recipe. The recipe called for vinegar, dill, garlic cloves and pickling salt. Saturday, while grocery shopping, I looked for the pickling salt. Of course my Wal-Mart didn't have ANY! They had jars and plenty of gelatin for making jelly, but no pickling salt!

Tuesday, was 'The Day,' for making pickles. I ran ALL OVER TOWN, literally, to find pickling salt. We stopped at five stores: two discount stores, a spice store, and two grocery stores. They were either all out, or didn't carry it. The last stop, Brokshire's grocery store, I almost LOST MY MIND! I walked down isles, after isles looking for the canning stuff, because that's where it would be.

I then started looking for someone to ask. There seemed to be no one tending the store, only checkers, and baggers. It was then about 2:30 in the afternoon, and I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast. I was getting a headache, and think I was becoming hypoglycemic, and very agitated.

Finally I asked a checker, she sent me to the seasoning isle, where I knew it wasn't. But went back ANY WAY. I then ran down a bagger boy, who was riding an electric cart back inside. He had no idea what I was asking about. He (we) walked in circles for about two minutes and then he said something very smart. "I don't know what it is, or where it would be. How about I call someone for you." I could have kissed him.

Bagger boy, paged. No response. Paged again. Still one one responded. "I'll be back," he said. And he disappeared behind the double doors. Eight minutes later, (yes I counted), someone who actually tends the store came walking up. He didn't have a clue either. We went on a scavenger hunt, and by happen-stance, on the chip isle . . . "TaDa," the canning stuff. There was pickling salt! I got the other things on that list, and finally went home.

At home we prepared our space, and were ready to make pickles. As the girls measured ingredients, I had to taste this pickling salt. With all the fuss, I was curious to know its flavor. Was it tart, spicy, tangy? I imagined bitter.

It was SALT. Plain old, run of the mill, iodized, SALT! I went all over town, to five different stores, looking for SALT! OMG! If I had known it was just SALT, I would have use what I had. It wasn't the stuff with the little seeds. That's pickling spice. There is a difference!
Finally, we made our brine, that's the salt, vinegar and water mixture after it's boiled. Poured it over our cucumbers in the huge jar along with the dill and garlic. In eight weeks, we'll eat kosher pickles. No matter what they taste like, the experience with my girls was worth the aggravation!
I have a 4 lb. box of canning and pickling salt. Let's see, what esle can I pickle?


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