'Is that a pickle in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?' to paraphrase the immortal words of Mae West.
When one no longer has room in the freezer to store soup made from the, still over-producing, vegetable garden, one turns to pickles.
There was a time when I thought pickles needed to be from gherkins or pickling cucumbers.
Not so, my friends, not so.
One can pickle almost anything, including bits that are otherwise considered inedible – like watermelon rinds.
Both sauerkraut and kimchi are a form of pickling.
But I don't have watermelons or cabbages in my garden.
I have green beans.
These are what is commonly known as 'refrigerator' pickles. The vegetables are not processed in the brine, but just allowed to soak in it, absorbing flavors. Unlike proper, processed and canned or bottled pickles they do not keep longer than 3 – 4 weeks.
But – they are quick, fool-proof and delicious.
Pickled Green Beans
1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed or purple or yellow
6 cloves garlic, peeled, cut in half
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups white wine tarragon vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs salt
1 tbs mustard seed
1 tbs dill seed
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cups water
Blanch beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, and put in cold water to cool. Put beans and garlic in a bowl.
Heat remaining ingredients to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool 10 minutes. Pour over beans. Cover and refrigerate. Will be ready in a day; better in 2 or 3.
Here are some of the other pickles I make:
Of course one can make refrigerator pickles out of cucumbers…. with a bit of green pepper and onion,
These Pickled Beets can be proccessed, by I just make them, put them in the fridge and eat.
If you want to do serious pickle making…. This is the easiest and best Garlic Dill Pickle recipe (IMHO).
I like it because you can use a bushel of pickles or whatever your garden yields on a daily basis.
I'm still giggling over the Mae West line – it was actually a 'pistol' not a pickle and she was talking to a cop.
Another favorite is: 'When I'm good, I'm very good; when I'm bad I'm better.'
The words are good – but her delivery……