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Sunday, July 1, 2012

In a Pickle

There are not a lot of things that I can eat on my hCG diet. Finding new ways to cook very boring and bland choices can be difficult. However, one such way is pickles. Cucumbers are one of the things allowed on my diet, and thanks to either Dr. Simmeons, or the fact that it was 1950's Italy I'm not sure, he counts cucumbers as a vegetable (as he does tomatoes, thank goodness; because I'm only allowed two fruits a day. It might be the sugar and carb content.) But I can technically have unlimited vegetables on the list.

Now, I hate the taste of cucumber, but pickles I can eat straight from the jar. And they're really simple to make. And no, I'm not talking about fermented dill pickles, or sweet pickles, but plain old "refrigerator" pickles.

It was harder to find a 1 qt jar with a sealed hinged 
lid than it was to make these pickles.

What are "refrigerator" pickles, you ask? Well basically, instead of being fermented whole for a week, they soak in vinegar and spices and take on the surrounding flavor of the "brine". Plus, they need to be refrigerated! They aren't preserved, so they will only last you two months, but my first batch lasted under a week (as in, I ate them all).

Once you have the spices, it's very cheap to make your own. As large as my spice pantry is though, I did not have any mustard seed, celery seed, or turmeric (or the pickling spice) so I had to go out and buy them all. I didn't realize that celery seed and turmeric were so expensive! I was lucky though, and got all my spices for half off. Now I have enough to last me a lifetime of making pickles.

Even the prep for the jar is simple. With a V-slicer or Mandolin (which is what I have), it makes quick work of the cucumbers. All you need to do is smash the garlic, and cut the half an onion vertically in order to make strips. (Also, interesting fact - if you wait until the vinegar pickling brine is simmering on your stove top, you can cut the onion without fear of crying, as the vinegar in the air prevents it. Cool, huh?)

Anyway, if you are interested in making these, which I highly recommend, you can watch this video where I got the recipe from. (Yes, it's Alton Brown, and yes the recipe is slightly different than in his "American Pickle" episode). And enjoy!

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