Monday, July 30, 2012

At Home: Polish Pickles

This next installment of What Micky Eats...At Home features a treasured family recipe passed down from Keith's grandfather, Walter.  Keith's grandparents emigrated from Poland almost 40 years ago and settled in Brooklyn, NY.  To this day, they cook classic Polish dishes from scratch without using a real recipe. Going from memory and adding "a little bit of this and touch of that", it was hard to capture the essence of these treats that Keith grew up with.  After interviewing his grandparents, we took notes and added our own spin.  Below is our version of Walter's light and crunchy Polish pickles.

Firstly, I must brag a little about our little backyard city garden.  Literally in a 3 x 1 foot patch in the side of our backyard, along the fence, we planted a few items earlier this Spring.  Amazingly, despite the crazy heat we've had this Summer, we were successful in growing a couple cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and basil.  We also still have some sage, rosemary, and lavender that have continued to grow from past seasons.  I kept my eye out and took a few pictures to document the growing process, and was eager to pick and eat them.  This pickle recipe was a perfect opportunity for us to use our home-grown cucumbers.

Walter's Pickles
  • 1 large (32 oz. or bigger) clean glass jar
  • 4 cups boiled water, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 - 3 cucumbers, sliced or cut in spears
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 3 large springs of fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

- Make sure to have a large, clean, glass jar.
- Boil water, and set aside to cool.
- Into the jar, add cucumbers, garlic, dill, salt, and cover with the cooled water.
- Cover jar with lid really tight and shake up a bit.  Let sit at room temperature for 2 days.
- A white film may form on the top and sides. This is normal. Simply remove with a wooden spoon.
- Refrigerate jar after 2 days.

The classic Polish dill pickle, whose preparation goes back well over 1,000 years, is naturally cured, hence it is a far healthier alternative than any of the pickles pickled with vinegar. These pickles are much lighter than the kind you find in the store.  Without the vinegar, they are more "watery" with slight dill and garlic flavor.  You can find similar kinds of this pickle at fairs and markets that sell fresh pickles.  This was an easy, fun, and healthy snack to make.  I am thrilled that we were able to not only use cucumbers from our own small garden, but also use a cherished family recipe. I can't wait to try some on my turkey burger.  We collected a couple more family recipes, which I plan to feature here on What Micky Eats...At Home, so stay tuned!

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