I traded in my salsa shirt for an even crummier one today to ready myself for Pickle Day! Apparently, I'm just bottling up all of my sadness over the summer vacation drawing to a close. We filled the house with kids (my favorite sound), and with everyone happily busy, I got to work! The bread and butter pickle recipe I use has a couple of different weapons up its sleeve.
The first obstacle I faced was a small bag of onions, and they were truly diabolical! Perhaps it is the different cutting technique that is used for the pickles (thin rings) that makes the task so much more difficult, and tear jerking, than the chopping motion used for the salsa. Part of the problem, I am sure, resides in the fact that I am a terribly unskilled knife user...nope, practice is doing nothing to improve my situation. The mere fact that I am exposed to the onions longer as I try to make thin slices that do not involve any of my fingers makes the onions power over my eyes unbearable! I have never seen any footage of the cooking divas on TV showing them with both eyes, and nostrils weeping. My eyes hurt for the rest of the day, as if I'd gone on some major crying jag--which I guess I did. I took a glance in the mirror to see if I should have one of the children capture my visage...oops, no, not if I wanted anyone to eat what was in the jar...very unappetizing!
The other battle I had to face was with a spicy little chap named Turmeric (and perhaps his buddy mustard seed). His evil power is his similarity to permanent ink, as far as stain removal is concerned! When black utensils have a strange yellow glow about them...those are some badass spices! (Um, why is this post starting to read as though I am sniffing permanent markers? I need to get out more!) I am happy to report that I didn't ruin anything new this year...or at least nothing I've seen through my bloodshot puffy eyes!
Once again, I was armed with a time honored recipe. A recipe that I have chosen to not make any helpful notations on. It calls for four quarts of cucumbers thinly sliced. Every year I buy an eight quart basket and then ponder if I am doubling the recipe, or if that refers to an amount of sliced cucumbers. I don't know what I decide each year, I just know sometimes I have enough liquid leftover to bottle on its own. I was really glad that there were no other adults present today as my system was neither terribly efficient, nor pretty, but somehow there are nineteen sealed jars of pickles on my counter!
This should conclude this year's installment of "Watch out the stove is hot!" as I do not expect any incidents when it's applesauce time. (I already learned that it is not a good idea to peel apples outside on a nice day...when there are bees around!) I also learned a few lessons making blackberry jam, that should make raspberry jam day rather dull. (It will be truly uneventful if I miss out on picking the berries!)