Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pickles - The Old-Fashioned Way

When I was a little kid, my grandmother always made a big crock of pickles each summer. The crock was kept in a closed room off the back of her kitchen that was called "the cold room." For the most part, it was used to store out-of-season clothes and it was off-limits to me, my brother and our eleven cousins that frequently spent time at Grandma and Grandpa's. None of us were allowed to go into the cold room and dip into the crock ourselves, but as a special treat we would ask Grandma for a pickle, and she always found a nice, big one for whomever asked.

I have a vivid memory of taking my pickle, going out to the cool, front screened-in porch to lie on the swing there, staring up at the beadboard ceiling while savoring that oh-so-good pickle, and thinking whatever thoughts and dreaming whatever dreams a 7 or 8 year old in the 1950s did.

Why, oh, why didn't I get Grandma's crock pickle recipe? Most likely, she didn't have a recipe, but I could have gotten the basics from her so I could try my hand at making them.

Roy has frequently suggested it would be nice to do some old-fashioned pickles in a crock but I've kinda ignored him and continued to make our pickles in quart jars using the water bath canner method because I knew that worked. This year, with our abundant crop of pickling cucumbers, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Earlier this summer, he did a little light-weight researching and came up with a method for making crock pickles. Here's a shot of the crock sitting in a corner of the cool basement.

He said they would be ready to taste after fermenting in the brine for about 1-1/2 weeks. This week the time was up so we sampled.

Well, I'll be horn-swoggled. They are really good. Now they'll continue to ferment and get even better tasting, he assures me. With this success under his belt, he was encouraged to try yet another batch.

I volunteered to help by gathering and washing the dill and preparing the garlic.

Here's a bunch of cucs in the sink ready for washing.

And washing. And washing. And washing.

Finally, cucumbers and garlic ready for the crock.

Into the crock they go.

Then down to the basement and we patiently wait while they do their thing, turning into tasty, crispy, crunchy pickles like Grandma used to make. ('Cept I think this batch has more garlic in it than Grandma ever thought of using!)


Chicken Mama said...

HEY!!!!! THAT'S where my large colander is!!!

Mama Pea said...

Ha! You just WISH it was your colander.

Love ya,
Mama Pea

The Sassy Butterfly's Chaotic Musings said...

I would LOVE to know exactly what goes into a crock recipe like this... do you still have the recipe, such as it is? :D