Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Here's how to make pfabulous Polish pickles

... and you don't even have to be Polish to make 'em.

It's cucumber season and by me the best place to get 'em is at the Duris Cucumber Farm about half way between Tacoma and Puyallup on the River Road. Besides beautifully fresh cukes sorted into a variety of sizes they have everything you need for  home pickling – jars, spices, fresh dill and garlic, grape leaves for extra crunch, the works.   

I got started with my own home pickling projects a few years ago with a book I found at Duris, The Joy of Pickling.  It's full of reliable and interesting recipes for pickling pretty much everything from cucumbers to golf balls.

This last weekend though, I made pickles with my friend Margaret and we used her own recipe from her childhood in Poland. 

The only thing I'd do differently next time is to pick up some small cukes, too,  instead of getting all medium size. The small ones would have come in handy to top up the jars when there wasn't enough room for any more of the medium size.  Anyway, here's what we did.

First we made a brine. Bring some water to a boil and add enough pickling salt to make a mild brine. I know you want measurements. The best I can do is tell you it would come out to about three cups of water to 1-1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt.  

Next we cut off the blossom ends of our cukes.  There's an enzyme in there that can make for mushiness and who wants a mushy pickle. We packed some pickling spice, fresh garlic and fresh dill into the jars along with the cukes and then filled them up to the top with the cooled-to-room-temp brine. That's pretty much it.

Margaret says you let them sit at room temp for 2-3 days and then put in the fridge. They'll be crunchy and not too sour, about halfway between a sour pickle and a fresh cuke. 

"Pickles are cucumbers that sold out.  They sold their soul to the devil.  And the devil is dill."

--- Mitch Hedberg

"I don't want a pickle. Just want to ride my motorcycle."

-- Arlo Guthrie

Food for Thought” is a weekly KPLU feature covering the world of food as well as the thinking that goes into it. The feature is published here and airs on KPLU 88.5 every Wednesday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.