I grew up on a small horse farm in Connecticut, in an agricultural town. I loved it. The smells of small town New England - leather, silage, and manure - make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We were lucky enough to live just a ten minute drive from my maternal grandmother, Mémère, and her husband Steve. I spent many a day exploring the woods with Steve, "hunting for snipe" with their massive German Shepherd, Sheba. My dad has been in a tennis league on Tuesday nights for as long as I can remember, so Tuesday's were the nights we visited Mémère and Steve's for dinner. One of my fondest memories of these dinners is never leaving her kitchen without a paper cup filled with bread and butter pickles, Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese, and Wheat Thins.
There were times, in my broke, post-university years, that I lived off of essentially the same things. But is wasn't till last summer that I tried my hand at making pickles of my own. After a half batch as a test run, my first full jar went straight to my Mémère for taste testing. I was tickled to hear that not only were they edible, but they taste exactly like her mother, my Grand-Mémère used to make. I was born on my Grand-Mémère's birthday, and am named after her, so already feel a great affinity toward her. Knowing that my own culinary skills are even remotely in the same league as hers makes me incredibly proud.
Ingredients for 1 quart:
- 1 lb pickling cucumbers, sliced
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 T mustard seeds
- 1 T coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp celery seeds
Mix the cucumbers, onions and salt together, place in a colander and cover with ice. Let stand in sink for two hours.
In a saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, and spices to a boil. Pack the cucumbers and onions into a properly sterilized 1 quart canning jar and cover with the vinegar mixture.
From here, you can either keep the pickles as they are in the refrigerator for up to a week, or you can continue the canning process for long term storage. To complete the canning, place the sealed jar in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely. These can now be stored indefinitely.