I recall back in the 70s, as a young and adventuresome housewife, I once made a Thirty-Day pickle. Whew! Talk about a time intensive recipe. A local college professor made dozens of jar every year and had shared them with me. They were crispy and picklely—just the way I love ’em.
So I mixed up a batch from his recipe—once. Never again would I make that kind of commitment to a tub of cucumbers. Tending the pickles was like having another child around the house to care for and, at the time, I had four to see after.
If you’re not inclined to pickle, it’s good to know someone who does enjoy the culinary sport. When it comes to homemade pickles, I feel like Blanche DuBois having to “always depend on the kindness” of others. My mother was the pickle maker in my family. But she made just one variety: bread and butter. They’re still my favorite. I tried making them, but mine never seemed as good as hers. Nowadays, I only pickle carrots, which are incredibly easy and greatly enhance a sandwich or salad. Imagine my surprise to discover that my son, Tom, has taken up pickling. When I was at his house this weekend he showed me the start of his small batch Three-Day Dill pickles, that were marinating along with various peppers (habanero and jalapeno), carrot, and lots of dill. I tasted one. It wasn’t ready yet, but I could tell it was headed in the right direction. Definitely on it’s way toward pickledom—a pickle’s version of stardom. I stopped by his house on Day #3 for another taste and some photos. Ahhh, success! The pickles were crunchy, spicy, and packin’ enough heat to enliven a burger, tune up a tuna salad, or make for a healthy snack. Well done, Tom. Now if I can just move him on to bread and butter pickles. . . .