28 July 2010

"Two olive oil tins, one wine bottle, one flower vase"

This weekend's kitchen project the first was a batch of dill refrigerator pickles. The cucumber vine here shriveled up, but I scored a few pounds of pickling cukes at a local market.

'Slightly Sweet Dill Refrigerator Pickles'

The delightful thing about refrigerator pickles is that while there is slicing and chopping, there is no cooking save for boiling up the brine quickly.

No verdict yet on the recipe because the cucumbers need time to cure, but I did sample a spoonful of the brine and it's lovely. I took the advice of some of the Epicurious commenters and halved the sugar, which I think was a sound decision. Do leave the jars uncovered for the first 24 hours -- I kept mine on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator -- it makes a difference in how the brine matures. There is science going on here; chemistry and microbiology both are involved, but the practical upshot is that leaving the lids off for 24 hours is important.

The second kitchen project was a half batch of sun-dried-zucchini. My primary objection to zucchini is textural; I have no problem with them if they're prepared in ways that make them not slimy, but finding those ways is the challenge.

The sun-dried and oil-packed idea sounds like it will achieve non-sliminess, though. The other thing I like about the recipe is that it's a way to deal with the late-summer zucchini glut without having to gorge on them or leave them on your neighbours' porches. You can preserve them for later! Who knew?


With the humidity and the thunderstorms around here, I chose to use the dehydrator rather than the skewer method. That did involve running a largish, warmish contraption in my kitchen on a hot day, and that was perhaps not ideal, but it was no worse than making jam and certainly less awful than turning on the oven. The drying process took perhaps a couple of hours, with a few pauses to check on progress and shuffle the trays. The stuff at the bottom of the dehydrator seems to dry faster than the stuff at the top, so I try to move the trays around to keep things more or less even.

I am going to let the zucchini sit and cure a while in the olive oil, for no reason other than I know there is a difference between the dried tomatoes I buy packed in olive oil and those I buy in packets, and I prefer the ones that come in oil.

Charles Wright


  1. I knew I felt a kinship with your blog, and then today I see that you've included a link to a poem by my old friend & teacher Charles Wright. There it is. Synchronicity.

    I've only had refrigerator pickles once and I thought they were kind of mushy. I'll be interested to see how yours come out. Meanwhile, I have a kombucha mushroom that may take over the world expanding in my dark pantry...

  2. Hi Charlotte, welcome aboard!

    I'll be sure to post a verdict on the pickles. They should be ready this weekend. Good luck with the kombucha mushroom with dreams of world domination.


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