Monday, May 12, 2008

International Pickle Week (May 16 – 26, 2008)

International Pickle Week, yes that is right – worldwide fun for my fellow pickle lovers, begins on May 16 and actually runs 10 days (no not really a week, is it?!). Pickles have been deemed the world’s funniest vegetable. The pickle week ends on Memorial weekend to kick off the start of summer right!

International Pickle Week began in 1948 to celebrate those brined cucumber treats. The key to make pickles is starting with the right
type of cucumber. The cucumbers we find in the market to add to our salads, long and sleek do not make the best pickles. Often time you can see the small ones called pickling cucumbers in the market, or most people who make their own pickles grow their own cucumbers. Traditionally pickles are made by curing cucumbers in a salt-water solution for four to six weeks. During this time, naturally occurring bacteria from the salt and the cucumbers themselves slowly change the bright green cucumbers to the dark olive skinned pickles and change the opaque interior translucent. Pickles can be fast packed which includes soaking them in a vinegar solution for much shorter time period.

Dill or kosher pickles are the most popular types of pickles. These are made by adding dill weed and lots of garlic to the brining process. Gherkins are small dill pickles.

Sweet pickles are the second most popular type of pickles. Sugar is added to the brine to give these their sweet flavor. Bread and butter pickles are a type of sweet pickle.

Cucumbers are not the only vegetable to be pickled. Other pickled favorites include peppers,
cabbage (sauerkraut), beans, okra, root vegetables like turnips and beets, carrots, radishes, ginger, mangos, watermelon rind, hard-boiled eggs, various meats and let us not forget olives and capers.

I love adding pickles to a sandwich for both crunch and great flavor. They go well to with grilled items like burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken breasts. I love adding relishes to my chicken and egg salads.

Although I have not tried it myself, I found a recipe for fried pickles. What could be better?

Serves 4 – 6

3 to 4 large dill pickles, whole
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup beer
1 Tablespoon cayenne
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powde
r3 dashes hot pepper sauce
Vegetable oil for frying

Cut dill pickles into 1/4” thick slices.

Combine flour, beer, cayenne, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder and hot pepper sauce in a medium mixing bowl. Dip pickle slices into batter.

Heat oil to 375°F in a large, deep saucepan. Fry pickles until they float to the surface, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Possible dipping sauce include orange blossom sauce, a horseradish mayonnaise or buttermilk ranch.

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1 comment:

Corinne said...

I am so excited to learn that my birthday falls during International Pickle Week! I'll have to be sure to include it as a part of my celebration.