Pickling: it’s a big dill

 

By Katherine Larson

I come to the topic of pickles as a relative neophyte, but like many converts am extra-enthusiastic.

For years, pickles were to me the flavorful objects that miraculously appeared, fully formed, in glass jars in grocery stores or on plates in restaurants. The idea of having anything to do with their creation seemed far-fetched.

Then I met Gregg Wixtrom, my husband’s cousin, and through him gained access to a steady supply of cornichons, the brightest star—from the pickling perspective—in the cucumber firmament. Fresh off the vine, cornichons are delectable eating; pickled, they are superb.

Moreover, the supply of fresh cucumbers was such that at even the most voracious rate of consumption we found ourselves unable to keep up. Clearly, it was time to start pickling.

In doing so, I joined the legions of cooks over at least 3,000 years who have taken advantage of nature’s bounty in one season by pickling vegetables for later use. Aristotle praised pickles. Cleopatra thought that eating pickles made her beautiful. Amerigo Vespucci was a pickle merchant. Ulysses S. Grant breakfasted on pickles.

Since I am a creature of the 21st century, I could start out easily, with refrigerator pickles. These pickles won’t last forever, and they depend on the coldness of the refrigerator for the time they do last. But they’re easy and tasty and the perfect entry-level pickle….

To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.

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