Pickling Fail

I’m no Snooki, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for pickles.  Vlasic and Clausen were always my favorite pickles as a kid, but as I got older I began to appreciate the more unique flavors of home-made pickling recipes.  I think it’s super awesome when restaurants or small companies pickle their own ingredients from scratch, and I’ve always wanted to try my own.

Perhaps my most memorable pickle-themed story comes from a recent trip to visit old college friends in New York.  Before I moved out to Colorado I took a trip back east to visit Vassar as well as my friends in the city for a few days.  There was one night in particular where many of my closest college friends  planned to meet up at my girl Lisa’s apartment for a bit of pregaming before heading out to the bars.  A little wine, a little beer and the obligatory game of King’s Cup for old time’s sake, but it wasn’t until the idea of chasing whiskey shots with Vlasic pickle juice was brought to my attention that the night really took a memorable (or maybe not so memorable) turn.  Was this a good idea?  No.  But did I, at the time, think that this was the best idea anyone had ever come up with?  Absolutely.  After a few shots of whiskey with a pickle juice chaser, things for a little hazy and what happened afterwards I will probably never recall.  What I do distinctly remember, though, is the hideous hangover the next morning, tossing and turning on Lisa’s couch accompanied by periodic trips to the toilet to heave up sour lime green pickle juice.

And with that story in mind, allow me to tell you a bit about my first pickling experience.  I would like to start by saying this: please don’t be intimidated by pickling; it was a whole lot easier than expected.  All you really need is some fresh veggies or fruit and vinegar.  Now with those ingredients alone you will create a pretty bland flavor, so I certainly recommend spicing it up a bit in ways that are endless!  For my first batch, I thinly sliced cucumber, carrot and onion.  In a saucepan I heated up white vinegar, added a few tablespoons of sugar (to cut the sour),  some dried dill, a few halved garlic cloves, a couple bay leaves, salt, course ground pepper, and a stick of cinnamon just for fun.  After the liquid was heated to a simmer, I removed from heat and poured over the veggies in a container, covered it and placed in the fridge.  Within an hour or so, the veggies were successfully pickled.

Now, I’m not giving you many specifics of this recipe because, frankly, I was not very satisfied with the end product.  After all, it was my first pickling experience and my goal here was just to throw a few things together to see what kind of flavor I could create.  After tasting, I felt that I went too heavy on the sugar and the cinnamon, in this case, was a bit odd for my taste buds.  But through this experience I’m feeling inspired to create my own pickling recipe that I will share with you all once it’s tweaked and fine tuned.  I just wanted to get the word out there that pickling isn’t as difficult as you may think, and that there’s a lot more to it than sour lime green liquid.

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