May is a very special time for us here at Just the Right Size. The month of May brings us fresher-than-fresh Kirby cucumbers and the sweetest Florida corn you’ve ever eaten. And every May, hubby and I make our annual trek out to the boonies in order to stock up on both: first for making pickles and the latter for freezing or making corn relish, soups, corn bread, corn pudding…well, you get the picture.
The farm we buy from is only open for the month of May; the rest of the year it is closed. It grows a large proportion of the early cukes for Big Pickle (i.e. Claussen) and they are just as gorgeous as can be. But every May, hubby and I always overestimate the amount of cukes we need and end up to our elbows in cukes or pickles. Usually both.
Last year, I tried to make a highly coveted pickle recipe from one of the Cooking Forum ladies, which called for fermenting the cukes for several days via pouring fresh boiling water over them every day, then proceeding with a brine soaking, then canning. In all, it takes about ten days total (at least it seemed).
Did I mention that May in Florida also brings temperatures in the 90s too? It seems that fermenting pickles in temperatures over 70 degrees is a bad idea. By the third day, I was greeted with a smell that can only be described as rotting cukes and road kill. And since I didn’t feel like turning up the AC to make my house a meat locker (and paying the subsequent electric bill), fermented pickles and sauerkraut will have to wait.
So, this year, we continued our tradition of getting way too many cukes and trying our hand at refrigerator pickles. Only this year, I am trying to copycat Boar’s Head Zesty Bread and Butter Chips. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pickles! I could easily eat a whole jar in one day! The special ingredient that takes these pickles over the edge is the huge amount of horseradish. So far, we have a dozen quarts and a dozen pints made, but are running out of room (again).
Anyone want some fresh cukes?