I thought I had gotten a lot done at the farm this weekend, but really I mostly moped around and complained about how hot it was. It’s been REALLY hot – too hot to do very much of anything outside. It’s sunstroke weather. A little bit of pickling got accomplished, however. I realized I had not made any relish yet this year. Motivated by the massive bowl of cucumbers, I cranked some out.
I like relish because it’s easy to cram ten cucumbers into a mason jar when you mince them up tiny. And they don’t have to be the little, charming ones, either. This week I’ve had a lot of the blimp-like cucumbers suddenly appearing from where they were hiding under the dense cucumber foliage. Some I am using to save seed (yay! This year I only have one cucumber variety, so it’s easy!), others went into the relish.
The salting is different with relish, because it’s more of a shredded pickle than a brined pickle. With brine, it’s easy to add a tablespoon of salt to the jar and know it’s enough. Relish is like saurkraut – I salt it to taste. I make it just past the point where it’s salad-salty, and that seems to work.
My dill got a late start this year (but I started it from seeds I saved from the winter garden!), and looked too weak to harvest from, so I had to come up with alternative pickle ideas this year. For the first jar I added some onions and peppers from the garden, and a generous sprinkle of mustard seeds. The second pickle was harder to come up with. I wanted something kind of unusual. Inspired by my friend, the pickling goddess Jean who runs Creative Cultures, I made an attempt at a curry flavor.
I promise it didn’t involve any lame spice mixes labeled “curry.” Instead I got out my much-loved copy of Curries without Worries by Suda Koul and got some ideas. Ginger went in, and garlic. Some cumin, tumeric, whole coriander seeds, hot peppers and even cinnamon. We’ll see how it turns out.