Pickles 101

| 8/7/2018 9:55:00 AM

 Finished crock of refrigerator pickles

It’s pickle time in Wisconsin! Bumper crops of gorgeous green and gold vegetable torpedoes elegantly dangling from the vine are ripe for the picking. The farmers markets are filled with brimming baskets in case you didn’t grow your own.

Green and gold cucumbers

I picked a lot of pickles as a kid. After what seemed like a hundred bushels we got some pocket change to go get Popsicles or root beer. I remember the little ones were worth more but it took so long to fill the basket. The work was hot and dirty but we made our own fun. We rode our bikes to and from the patch. Somebody would always find a giant yellow over ripe cucumber and start a pickle fight. 

Growing up, my family made a lot of pickles. The basement walls were lined with jars. Giant stoneware crocks I could sit inside filled corners of the cellar. These were mainstays to get through the winter. Everything harvested from the garden was preserved.

I spent many warm summer afternoons in the kitchen with my grandmother and aunt, assisting in assembly line pickle production. There were crock pickles, hot water baths, pressure cookers and giant cauldrons bubbling on every burner. The smell of vinegar, onion, dill and garlic permeated the steamy air. They taught me well. 

Sean Murphy
8/9/2018 11:12:30 PM

Peter Piper ain't got nothing on you! (Although, I guess he "pickled" peppers, but why mince words when there's pickles to pack?) I'm off to whip up a batch of my own pickley pickles; my papa would be proud!

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