The Wide Angle: Pickles put garden in a pickle

Published 5:49 am Saturday, August 10, 2019

Let’s talk pickles.

I know, it’s probably a bit too edgy for a Saturday morning, but I believe the subject needs to be broached.

I’m not a big fan of pickles, especially dill. Never have been. I’m not entirely fired up over bread and butter pickles either, but I handle the sweet a lot better than the tart and bitter of dill.

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Still, I’ve always liked pickled herring so I guess this is kind of fault in my logic, but I will go on to blame my strong Norwegian heritage for at least the herring aspect.

It’s much like I blame my Norwegian heritage for my dislike of lutefisk, only in a different way. I’m only half Norwegian, so I’m not obligated to like lutefisk.

Why is this not the same for pickled herring? You’ll have to figure that out on your own; I’m not an anthropologist. Right now you’re getting me off topic about pickles with your mundane questions.

That’s right, it’s your fault that no answers are forthcoming. Told you this column would be edgy.

The solid fact is that pickles have just never been on my preferred plate, yet when confronted with a very real fact as of late, I’ve had to reexamine my feelings on the violation of cucumbers.

I have a whole lot of cucumbers.

You see, while half of my garden this year has struggled compared to last year, the one thing that hasn’t is the cucumbers, which have been thriving on the ridiculous amounts of rain we’ve received. We’ve gotten far more cucumbers thant anything else and really more than two people can eat.

So, in the light of that and the fact my girlfriend likes pickles, I have ventured into the realm of canning pickles. Not my first foray into canning, but at the same time a new avenue for something to go wrong, which what I’ve come to realize about my 77 readers (thanks Gary Zeigler for informing me of the update. Who knew so many followed mundane so eagerly), it’s kind of what they’ve come to expect.

Now, if you’re eagerly awaiting some sort of story having to do with exactly how far south this venture into pickling went, I’m sorry to say you will be disappointed.

It largely went as expected when one follows the instructions. Everything came together just fine and the seals popped.

So yay for me and shame on you for wanting to see things go wrong. Stop rubbing your hands together like some sort of evil genius.

Here’s what never really dawned on me though— the after effects.

This is me admitting that I should have expected this, but pickling is really strong. I’ve received shades of this with refrigerator pickles, which if you’re not in the know is like canning, just with a lot fewer steps. This is dill seasoning so for the entirity of my Sunday, our house smelled like the inside of a Vlasic factory.

My hands, smelling just as interesting, caused the cats to cast accusatory stares as if wondering what sort of nefarious plot I was up to. Naturally, they tended to stay away from me the rest of the day.

Et tu Buster?

Unfortuantely, I wasn’t prepared for everything else. I’m now forced to really consider getting a new sauce pan, because despite the amount of scrubbing and sandblasting, mine still smells like a pickle.

The countertop in places still has a neato green tinge to it that I’m still struggling to get out.

Being the first time for a lot of things really stinks. Apparently pickles are the same thing.

Still, we now have 10 jars of canned pickles, five of which are also filled with jalapeños that I hope will add some spice and bite.

But I better get used to it. This weekend, the weekend you are reading this, I have more pickling to do as well as canning tomoatoes. An entire day of accusatory cat stares.

Seriously, et tu Buster?