By Heidi Lewis
Capturing fireflies in a jar, recalling the smell of sweet peas or the sensation of jumping off a rope swing into a cold river. When it comes to summer, we seem to want to bottle the sense memories - just to keep 'em for a little longer. Pickling has long been such a pursuit, capturing a taste - preserving the harvest.
Really, any veggie can be pickled - green beans, corn, beets, onions, little carrots come out great. But traditionally it’s cukes that we love in a briny bath. Any cuke type can be pickled - but some pickling varieties lend themselves better to the bath - small size, fewer seeds and thin skin being a criteria.
There are more ways than one to cure a cuke. If you've ever noticed you can get pickles off the shelf, or in the chill section of the grocery store. One is the canned method: cukes are immersed in a hot vinegar and spice brine, and the jar immersed in hot water to vacuum seal the lid. Another is fermented technique- this gives you the sour pickles that are particularly good for digestion. Fermented employ a room temperature fusion technique which the brine develops a lactic acid. The simplest of all home-made treats to make are refrigerator pickles. Cukes or veggies marinate in the jar and are ready to eat in a few days.
You can find fermentation and refrigerator recipes on our website. Or experiment with your own kitchen science. As Emerson said "Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment."