I'm basically Martha Stewart now, except I've been to less prison and I look better in skirts. I thought I might as well fully lean in and turn Stranger into a quasi recipe site. My recipes are better than most because you don't have to scroll past a 5,000-word essay about some woman's husband. Instead, I INCLUDE THE ESSAY WITHIN THE RECIPES! (Also, for past recipes, I've started a Recipe tab at the top of this very stupid website. I don't even know what Stranger is anymore.)
The below is one I've been meaning to write up since before the war. It's my momma's famous (D-list celebrities, but that's big for vine plants) pickle canning recipe. I grew up on these and they have forever ruined all other pickles for me. Once you have a Cathie pickle, you'll never go back-thy . . . shnickle. That rhyme didn't really work out but I'm too lazy to delete.
Ingredients (This will probably make about 8 quarts. Or it will make more. Or it will make less. I don't know. I'm not a damn physisisisist.)
18 pounds of cukes (3 to 5 inches. Yes I'm already resisting many off-color jokes)A shit ton of un-iodized granulated salt6 cups of white vinegar (4%-6% acidity)1/4 cup of granulated sugar9 cups of water2 Tablespoons of pickling spiceMustard seed (enough to do 2 teaspoons per jar)Like, so many garlic cloves (at least 15-20)Dill plant (enough for 3 heads per jar)Dill seed (enough for 1 tablespoon per jar)
1. Scrub the cukes in a sink where there are soggy Cheerios and wonder where those came from because you were pretty sure this house of two adult men doesn't have Cheerios in it.
Pro tip: This isn't really a tip. I just needed to tell you that last week Skylar found a dead rat in the backyard and he spent a whole day building the courage to "deal with it" and obviously I wasn't going to help. He eventually put it in a garbage bag, threw it into our garbage bin, and then poured half a bottle of Pine-Sol(????) on it.
2. Soak the cukes in a brine made by combining 2 gallons of water with 1.5 cups of un-iodized salt overnight. Apparently this softens their skins so they have a harder time dealing with internet criticism.
Pro tip: my momma says if you do this with iodized salt it will make the cukes mushy. No, nobody knows what "iodized" means. And yes, this is the same mother who told me a mole on the back of her neck was a third eye that allowed her to see what I was doing at all times and I believed this UNTIL I WAS ELEVEN.
Pro tip 2: Use a heavy pan lid to keep the cukes under water in case any of them are still alive. You could also consider tying a string to their fingers and connecting it to a bell so they can ring it if they aren't quite dead.
3. Assemble all the other ingredients for a like so way cute picture you can post on Instagram in order to let your followers know your house is about to smell like shit for five days.
4. Drain the cukes and then slice off one end just in case it survived the water bath; this will ensure that it's dead, once and for all.
Pro tip: I'm told that slicing off the end both removes any stem remaining and helps them pickle. I don't know why. I just work here.
Pro tip 2: If you unnecessarily place all of these salty cukes in a new bowl instead of just leaving them in the original pot where you had soaked them, my husband will show up and say "WHY ARE YOU DIRTYING MORE DISHES I'M GOING TO HAVE TO CLEAN THIS MESS UP." Tell him you are doing all of this for him and he should really be more grateful so he can respond "I DON'T EVEN LIKE PICKLES WE STILL HAVE NINE QUARTS FROM LAST YEAR WHY ARE YOU MAKING MORE."
5. Combine and boil the vinegar, 3/4 cup of un-iodized salt, the sugar, the water, and the pickling spice in a large pot so that it looks like you are cooking backwash.
Pro tip: thanks to this step, you'll never have snot in your nose again. Husband almost started crying when he walked into the kitchen during this part.
6. Pack the cukes into clean hot quart jars and then add to each jar: 2 teaspoons of mustard seed, 1-2 whole garlic cloves, 3 heads of dill plant, and 1 tablespoon of dill seeds.
Pro tip: my momma says you can do either the heads of dill or the dill seed, but my family does not believe it's possible to put too much dill in anything (except maybe an open wound) so we do both.
7. Pour the boiling vinegar backwash water into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. Spill and scream vociferously during this part.
Pro tip: wear your husband's clothes during all of this. That way his favorite t-shirt smells like vinegar instead of yours. Also, be emotionally prepared to hear him yell, "why are you wearing that!? You are going to stretch it out!"
8. Last time I posted a recipe someone noted that my teapot and stove make a face and now I can't unsee it and I'm starting to wonder if this thing is somehow responsible for COVID-19.
9. Lid and process the jars for 25 minutes.
Pro tip: Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On is 4 minutes and 39 seconds, which means, you have enough time to listen to it 5.37634409 times while the jars process. Look, I'm not telling you how to live your life. I'm just giving you options.
10. Place the jars on a shelf for 4 to 6 weeks I NEVER SAID IT WOULD BE EASY I ONLY SAID IT WOULD BE WORTH IT.
Pro tip: I think these probably "pickle" a little faster than that but I'm always too scared that I'm going to open them too early.
And that's it! Now you have pickles and you can open a restaurant that only serves pickles and it will definitely get shut down immediately because who would go to that restaurant SUCH A STUPID IDEA DON'T DO THAT.
~It Just Gets Stranger