homesteading: making pickles
Just in case you were getting impressed with my homesteading skills – don't be. Because making pickles is ridiculously simple: chop up your stuff (cucumbers, dill and garlic), cram it in a jar, pour boiling water with vinegar over it, put the lid on the jar, stick the jar in the fridge, wait a week and eat delicious pickles.
You will find a trillion variations on-line, but I learned this very simple recipe from my friend Julianne, a homesteading mom who does homesteading things without making a big announcement about it, unlike myself. For example, she gathers water in jugs from a mountain, makes her own ice-cream, gets raw milk from a local guy who has some cows . . . you get the idea. Let me say that if I was lugging jugs of mountain water back to my house you'd better believe I'd be talking about it all the time.
But before you run off to make some pickles of your own, there is a trick to make them crunchy that Julianne passed on to me: add a grape leaf to the jar.
These are the kinds of seemingly mystical and folklorish tips I love – the know-how of our farming ancestors that is passed down through families and neighbors, not computers or food networks.
But before I get too far ahead of myself, looking at my grape leaf in the above photo (found on a wild vine growing along the side of my driveway) I'm thinking it looks suspiciously like a maple leaf . . . How embarrassing is that? And yet it proves my point exactly: I have lost touch with my heritage, my roots, myliving-off-the-land beginnings to the extent that I can't tell the difference between a maple leaf and a grape leaf.
Thank God for google.