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Fruit of the Brine

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Recipes, we need recipes and pictures, we need pictures...

Recipes forthcoming---my Mom's recipe box got packed FAR away in the storeroom during all the Thanksgiving and Christmas put-this-away, bring-out-the-chairs frenzies. I know several "by heart," just from the sheer repetition over the years.

And the pictures---the lovely sunlit GREENTH of those shining jars above are due to Mr. Dave Scantland, photographer and artiste extraordinaire. I just sent Maggie the piece and they took it from there. Even the title is not of my own making, but I find it particularly apt, like some of Piers Anthony's Xanth titles.

And I am completely out of photo space in my albums, since my Thanksgiving blog. I have to make time to do the donor thing and get more picture space---I had just learned how to post a picture, and just got caught up in the saving.

So, my thanks to Maggie and Dave, for all their time and patience and work. How they juggle all the writing and editing and proper artwork and all the temperaments and styles of this group---it's a mystery past my solving.

And I want to thank my piano teacher in Omaha. . . Does this tight dress make my bee-hind look big? I just know I'll have to pee before it's my turn to accept. . .No, wait, I'm in the wrong place....got carried away there. :shock:

I'll take my fate in my hands and tackle a path through that storeroom today, I hope.

edited because Maggie got bolded and Dave didn't. Equal work/equal pay.


Edited by racheld (log)

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And I want to thank my piano teacher in Omaha. . .  Does this tight dress make my bee-hind look big?  I just know I'll have to pee before it's my turn to accept. . .No, wait, I'm in the wrong place....got carried away there. :shock:

If you are a green tomato, you do not need to worry about your bee-hind. It is all part of your charm. :wink:

Have you ever pickled meat, Rachel? I would guess you've done beet-juice pickled eggs. . .pickled meats are so very very old-fashioned, aren't they? I've always had in mind to pickle a pig's foot or two.

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Have you ever pickled meat, Rachel? I would guess you've done beet-juice pickled eggs. . .pickled meats are so very very old-fashioned, aren't they? I've always had in mind to pickle a pig's foot or two.

I know people around here who pickle fish, Northern Pike in particular. It's easy to catch 2-3 pounders, but they have lots of small bones. Pickling softens the bones, making the whole chunks edible.

SB (doesn't care for it himself :raz: )

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Have you ever pickled meat, Rachel? I would guess you've done beet-juice pickled eggs. . .pickled meats are so very very old-fashioned, aren't they? I've always had in mind to pickle a pig's foot or two.

I've pickled baloney for a friend who was addicted to that gray-pink vinegary stuff. It was cut from a "log" of bologna and I cut it into good sized cubes, some of which were more pie-shaped from the outside curve. Into a jar it went (for some reason, anything smaller than a gallon is a "jar" and gallons and up are "jugs." No matter if they are wide-mouth, Mason-ring size, or tee-ninecy bottle-sized mouths with that convenient one-finger ring of molded glass so useful when slinging a jug a shine onto your shoulder for support as you take a companionable glug. And of course, a mouth-sized mouth renders ANY size a jug, be it gallon, half, quart, or those little touristy dollar-an-ounce maple syrup jugs.

End lecture; on to cooking: Heat cider vinegar, water, salt to a boil, pour over the baloney which has been loosely packed into the container---too many sides squashed together won't let the brine soak in properly. Scatter a few peppercorns, garlic toes, a bay leaf, even sliced hot red peppers amongst 'em, seal, cool for a bit, then keep in the fridge. You can do this with any kind of "lunchmeat" except olive loaf (they keep falling out and floating away, leaving little peepholes like pink Swiss cheese) and liverwurst---I imagine it would make a very sour, very salty sludge, of a color I cannot bear thinking of.

Never had any dealings with pigfeet, ears, or tails, except for one hot noonday dinner when Mammaw had just set the steaming bowl of ears 'n' dumplins on the table, and the Preacher appeared, smiling through the front screendoor. I was maybe eight, and already eeewwwwy from the scent of all that porkfat boiling, and just the idea of the gristly texture between your teeth. I felt the tide rising, and I couldn't get away fast enough, so I ran from the front door of the little three-room shotgun house, and managed to make it all the way to the kitchen door. It was latched with the big screenhook up high, and I could reach it, but there was no time. The result when an eight-year-old meets screen in a frenzy of escape/throw up is not pretty.

No more recipes right now. It just doesn't seem decent somehow. :blink:

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No more recipes right now.  It just doesn't seem decent somehow.    :blink:

Let's see if I can fix that up. Preachers like flowers, don't they? We'll think of him and send along in mind some pickled nasturtium buds for his pleasure. I think we'll be right with whomever it is he talks to, now. :wink:

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I know people around here who pickle fish,  Northern Pike in particular.  It's easy to catch 2-3 pounders, but they have lots of small bones.  Pickling softens the bones, making the whole chunks edible.

SB (doesn't care for it himself  :raz: )

I love pickled herring, actually. Yum. But aren't pike related to sturgeon? Might get some decent caviar to pickle from those babes.

Pickled herring goes very well with pickled beets.

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No more recipes right now.   It just doesn't seem decent somehow.     :blink:

Let's see if I can fix that up. Preachers like flowers, don't they? We'll think of him and send along in mind some pickled nasturtium buds for his pleasure. I think we'll be right with whomever it is he talks to, now. :wink:

Pickled nasturtiums, it is. That was the name my Daddy gave to every flower, a little jest that we came to expect, especially when we were talking about Shasta daisies or floribunda roses, etc. He would just say "Nashaturshums," and we'd all crack up laughing.

I like nasturtiums, and have even tasted the pickled ones; never made 'em, though. I know how Papa felt, with us picking the before-their-time baby vegetables---eating a bud that would otherwise blossom into something so beautiful, something WE could not make or replace---that makes me feel sad.

Every country kid has tasted every flower in reach---we partook of honeysuckle blossoms, sucking those drippy stem ends like tiny straws; we sampled rose petals, and no matter the color, no matter the name, they all tasted alike. We got caught trying to extract nectar from even-smaller-than-honeysuckle verbena blossoms, and Mammaw wasn't mad---she just said, "Y'all be careful and don't suck those little things down your throats."

She DID, however, give us all a stern talking-to the day she came upon our little circle, sitting with our laps full of the dangling cleome "peapods," trying to shell out the microscopic peas. It would have taken the whole flowerbed to feed Barbie.

Most flowers are wonderful garnishing a tray, hovering above an icy drink, sitting complement to plated items, scattered upon a Spring salad. But when Miss Martha mentions geranium sugar, made with those peppery, disgusting leaves nestled into the cannister---I run for the hills.

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I know people around here who pickle fish,  Northern Pike in particular.  It's easy to catch 2-3 pounders, but they have lots of small bones.  Pickling softens the bones, making the whole chunks edible.

SB (doesn't care for it himself  :raz: )

I love pickled herring, actually. Yum. But aren't pike related to sturgeon? Might get some decent caviar to pickle from those babes.

Pickled herring goes very well with pickled beets.

I covered the fish bones thing in the Salmon Croquettes thread over on the Southern Food Culture category. Not for me, but I'll cook 'em for you.

Chris has introduced all the children to pickled herring, with mixed reviews. Most don't care for the "fish pickles" but a couple will gather round the jar with little cocktail forks, spearing and munching til they're gone, or I call, "SUPPER!"---whichever comes first.

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Linkie to Helenjp: Well, Pickle me!

Do my Japanese friends think I can't "really" cook? To be honest, I think they've fallen over all the pickle containers in my corridor so often that they believe I *do* cook, whether I *can* or not.

.....

I'm just off to put some pickle recipes on recipe gullet, before I post about pickles.

Roughly, pickles in Japan fall into these groups.

Basic salt pickles - either dry salt or brine. Usually intended for long storage, and often for vegetables which will be re-pickled in other forms, e.g. most of the popular commercial pickles such as fukujin-zuke, shiba-zuke, etc. Varying amounts of fermentation are permitted, depending on the type of vegetable.

Cultured seasonings - soy sauce, miso, sake, natto, vinegar, etc. usually involve basic ingredients, and usually salt, and always some kind of culture starter.

Condiment pickles - miso pickles, soy sauce pickles etc. Usually the pickles are enjoyed as snacks, and the pickling medium is used as a seasoning or condiment.

Other cultured pickling mediums - bettara zuke, karashi-zuke etc depend on cultured rice.

Rice-bran pickles - a mixture of rice bran, water, and salt, which is permitted to develop lactic acid-producing cultures.

Semi-preserves -- foods simmered for a long time in soy sauce, such as tsuku-dani.

Quick pickles -- food marinaded in a sour/salty mix, but not fermented. Expected to be eaten within 24-36 hours.

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Rachel--I think you've taught me as much about Southern food as Miz Lewis and Mr. Peacock by this point, and as long as you continue, I think you'll outscore all other sources. I've never heard of lime sweets before, and now I long for one.

I was going to say that you write with eyes on the back of your head, but that image tends to evoke Sarah Michelle Geller in the trailer of a cheesy remake of a Japanese horror movie, so I'll resist. Sort of, as you see.

Let's say, you look back to the past without replicating it, from the act of going against your father's pragmatic desire to get all your family could from those seeds while fetching those tender little beets and beans, to finding commonalities in the kimchee you savor in the big city. Given all the references to books set abroad, you seem to delight in the food of not only your own great-great-grandmother, but everyone's great-great-grandmother.

Speaking of literary references, I also like what you say about the role of pickles in otherwise bland diets. You remind me of the fact that my British stepfather filled the narrow shelves of the fridge door with blistering mustards, thin bottles of odd, brown spicy sauces from former British colonies and lots and lots of store-bought pickles. For what it's worth, he spent his final days deep in the heart of the South, perhaps discovering what you know full well.

Minor correction: I think you encountered cipolline in supermarkets, if I understand the point of reference. Curious, too: why the archaic form of "recipe" mixed in with the word and spelling that's replaced it? Is this a way of fusing the era of yellowed receipts to the present?

ETA: Just used Google and "cippolini" seems to be the new "arugula" in terms of Americanized Italian.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

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I thought it was the seedpods of nasturtiums that got pickled? To become giant 'capers'? The buds do too?

Thats a spot-on description of the scent of the average geranium leaf!

There are geraniums with chocolate scented, lemon-scented, mint-scented, rose-scented, etc leaves. My neighbor grows them all.

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I thought it was the seedpods of nasturtiums that got pickled? To become giant 'capers'?  The buds do too?

I think it is the seedpods. Somehow somewhere I heard or read the word pickled nasturtium "buds", though, that I'm sure of. . .and it has stuck forevermore. I'll keep my eyes out for where I found the term. (Must be a book. :biggrin: )

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Linkie to Helenjp: Well, Pickle me!
Do my Japanese friends think I can't "really" cook? To be honest, I think they've fallen over all the pickle containers in my corridor so often that they believe I *do* cook, whether I *can* or not.

.....

I'm just off to put some pickle recipes on recipe gullet, before I post about pickles.

Roughly, pickles in Japan fall into these groups.

Basic salt pickles - either dry salt or brine. Usually intended for long storage, and often for vegetables which will be re-pickled in other forms, e.g. most of the popular commercial pickles such as fukujin-zuke, shiba-zuke, etc. Varying amounts of fermentation are permitted, depending on the type of vegetable.

Cultured seasonings - soy sauce, miso, sake, natto, vinegar, etc. usually involve basic ingredients, and usually salt, and always some kind of culture starter.

Condiment pickles - miso pickles, soy sauce pickles etc. Usually the pickles are enjoyed as snacks, and the pickling medium is used as a seasoning or condiment.

Other cultured pickling mediums - bettara zuke, karashi-zuke etc depend on cultured rice.

Rice-bran pickles - a mixture of rice bran, water, and salt, which is permitted to develop lactic acid-producing cultures.

Semi-preserves -- foods simmered for a long time in soy sauce, such as tsuku-dani.

Quick pickles -- food marinaded in a sour/salty mix, but not fermented. Expected to be eaten within 24-36 hours.

How PERFECT that you put the link to Helen's pickles here!!! I've read only the list you quoted, as I'm trying to keep up with answering the posts---I'll immerse myself in the blog/thread soon.

What flavors and brines and added ingredients I'd have never thought of! The rice-bran is still a mystery---the cultures are used to pickle OTHER things? There seemed to be nothing in that one that you could pick up with chopsticks, fork or fingers, so there must be some more to add before eating?

I could get with you on nearly all of those; soy sauce of every shade and density is on our cabinet shelves---I've been known to fudge on the old Southern recipes and put a few dashes into collards, greens, pinto beans, almost any soup or gravy. I remember when we first started using soy sauce, unknown to our little country family. An elderly uncle was over for dinner one night, and he especially liked the gravy I had made to go over the rice.

I do not care for the bitterburnt smell of flour browning in oil or shortening; the only exception I make is for a good roux---roux is a separate entity, made only ONE way, like hollandaise or bechamel, and deserves every minute and method it requires.

I had dissolved the flour in the fat left from frying some pork chops, had let it cook for long enough to get rid of the "raw" taste; then I poured in the boiling water, stirring the gravy into a whitish sauce, to which I added a good glug of soy sauce to get it to the just right brown color. Uncle tasted, dipped a biscuit, ate some more. He never said he liked it or how did I make it, nothing.

He merely said, "If I come over about four tomorrow, will you have me a quart of this?" He did, and I did, and a family history of gravy-tradition was changed.

Only one item stands out as a definite NO: I've encountered natto, via Iron Chef, and though I've never tasted or smelled it, it didn't appeal to me A-TALLL.

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Rachel--I think you've taught me as much about Southern food as Miz Lewis and Mr. Peacock by this point, and as long as you continue, I think you'll outscore all other sources.  I've never heard of lime sweets before, and now I long for one.

I was going to say that you write with eyes on the back of your head, but that image tends to evoke Sarah Michelle Geller in the trailer of a cheesy remake of a Japanese horror movie, so I'll resist.  Sort of, as you see.

Let's say, you look back to the past without replicating it, from the act of going against your father's pragmatic desire to get all your family could from those seeds while fetching those tender little beets and beans, to finding commonalities in the kimchee you savor in the big city.  Given all the references to books set abroad, you seem to delight in the food of not only your own great-great-grandmother, but everyone's great-great-grandmother.

Speaking of literary references, I also like what you say about the role of pickles in otherwise bland diets.  You remind me of the fact that my British stepfather filled the narrow shelves of the fridge door with blistering mustards, thin bottles of odd, brown spicy sauces from former British colonies and lots and lots of store-bought pickles.  For what it's worth, he spent his final days deep in the heart of the South, perhaps discovering what you know full well.

Minor correction: I think you encountered cipolline in supermarkets, if I understand the point of reference.  Curious, too: why the archaic form of "recipe" mixed in with the word and spelling that's replaced it?  Is this a way of fusing the era of yellowed receipts to the present?

ETA:  Just used Google and "cippolini" seems to be the new "arugula" in terms of Americanized  Italian.

Methinks we worship much too reverently at the Google altar. I had none of the little tubs left to consult, if indeed they had the name on, and so I just took the Big G's word for it. I like yours much better, and it's mine now. I noticed that our DS#4's about-to-be-Mother-in-Law spoke of "cippola" or "cibbola" when she referred to the Bloomin' Onions we had ordered at the Texas Roadhouse. We were stumbling through the noise level of fourteen people at table, the general babble of a kicker-wearin' peanuts-on-the-floor restaurant, and our dearth of each other's language, but that WAS a word I recognized.

And I DO love the old recipes, the old ways; they were born of what you HAD and what Grandma had. Her methods were formed like the cut-the-ham-in-half joke---the family had done it for generations. Tracing back, they found that Great-Grandma did it because her roaster-pan was too small.

"Receipts" were what cooking directions were called by a couple of aunts who had "married into" the family. We took to saying either/or, and definitely calling them "Aunt Etta's receipt for teacakes," or "Aunt Len's receipt for Lane Cake."

Ours were all "recipes" but we gave the honors to the giver, still decades later.

And I thank you for putting me into the exalted sharing-company of Lewis/Peacock; they had and have the constraints of writing, editing, marketing, waiting for publication. I just set my teeth into a memory, start writing, and hang on for the ride. I do, however, have a pot of mustard greens a-simmering with a chunk of Chris' Birthday ham, and a skillet of smothered squash and onions steaming for supper. If you went more South than that, you'd fall in the Gulf.

It was my first Grandfather-in-Law, my children's Great-Granddad, who was the stickler for not picking the young vegetables. But some of his tiny crisp turnips would have turned out the best kimchee---our favorite one is turnip and red pepper, with a hearty crunch and eye-sting whoosh of heat.

I DO love the recipes that go back generations; everyone's family favorites must have SOMETHING to recommend them.

And may I ask WHERE in the South your father spent his last days?

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Thats a spot-on description of the scent of the average geranium leaf!

There are geraniums with chocolate scented, lemon-scented, mint-scented, rose-scented, etc leaves. My neighbor grows them all.

Despite all the "chocolate" and "lemon" appelations, the oregano-pepper-tang comes through, and I cringe. I love geraniums, and have a pot upstairs that I have nursed through TWO Indiana winters already; their bright red cheerfulness is terrific on the front porch. But only for looking at; when I deadhead the pot, several times a summer, I have to come in in search of some good handwash before I can continue.

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Ahhh, racheld.  :wub: :wub:  :wub:

And I don't even like pickles.  :biggrin:

AWWWW! Little blinky hearts!!

You didn't get a Sour Tooth? You miss out on a bunch; I guess you'll have to settle for chocolate.

Always good to hear from you, Sparrowgrass---could you elaborate on the story behind your avatar? I always get a dashing-girl-on-a-bike-before-her-time feeling, when I see it.

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So, my thanks to Maggie and Dave, for all their time and patience and work. How they juggle all the writing and editing and proper artwork and all the temperaments and styles of this group---it's a mystery past my solving.

Thank you , Rachel -- that's very kind of you. I'd like to laud the efforts of phlox, our peerless proofreader and a young woman of great style and taste.

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I'd like to laud the efforts of phlox, our peerless proofreader and a young woman of great style and taste.

I never knew---Thank you, phlox (one of my favorite flowers from childhood, by the way).

I have so many idio-whatses I don't know how you made it through the dashes and strung-together words.

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I don't want a pickle

Just want to ride on my motorsickle

And I don't want a tickle

'Cause I'd rather ride on my motorsickle

(The Motorcycle Song, Arlo Gutherie)

Just makes me wanna slap, Arlo. Pickles are a *lot* better than motorsickles - and I oughta know.

You certainly made me hungry. While I have canned, I have never pickled (would like to, and maybe you've inspired me here) and I do love them.

Great saliva inducing piquant piece, Rachel Thanks!

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Ahh, ms rachel, the girl in the picture is my Pittsburgh grandma, standing beside Grandpa's motorbike. She used to ride in the sidecar. Grandpa had a Model A, too, which she never learned to drive. The first time she tried, she backed into a "telly pole". The picture was taken in the early 20's.

If anybody knows what kind of bike that is, let me know.

To bring the post back around to food, by the time I came along, Grandma had thoroughly adopted convenience food, and eating at her house was an adventure of instant mashed potatoes, TV dinners in foil trays and Boil-in-bag miracle meals.

She did teach me to make noodles, which I made for my Dad every chance I got, because he loved them so. With a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, of course.

If she had pickles in her house, they came from Krogers.

I do on occasion make pickles--dilly beans and pickled okra--but I don't have a "sour tooth". Or sweet tooth, for that matter. I'd rather have a quart of that gravy and a mess of cat-head biscuits.

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This one is memorable in that it appeared on the table at every special occasion, from the time I met my first Mother-in-Law, through the kidnapping of the recipe by my own Mother, who called it her own when she passed it around under the hairdryer, and on to all of my children, who still can these and cook them for their own special days.

These are pickled snap beans, pole beans, green beans---whatever your designation. They are cooked in brine and canned, then drained and cooked in a big pot in which some ham or bacon, as well as a BIG chopped onion, have been slowly fried into softness.

I've never tried them straight out of the jar, but we gave some as take-home to friends from Pennsylvania, and she put them out in a pretty bowl on the Christmas cocktail-party table, then raved over everyone's wanting the recipe.

We much prefer pole beans, such as Kentucky Wonder, but bush beans seem to be more prevalent in markets. And you can cut this in half EASILY, just don't reduce the cooking time by much.

For two gallons of snapped, washed beans:

Put the beans in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add 1 pint sugar and 1 pint vinegar, any kind but balsamic. Cover beans one inch with water and stir. Cook 45 minutes and can into hot jars. Screw on Mason lids and turn upside down til cool.

These have a slight sweetness, very little, and a nice vinegary tang. But they're meant to be a savory dish, so for cooking:

It will take two quarts to make a nice bowl of these, if you're going to cook them DOWN in the Southern manner.

In heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pan: Gently fry six or so slices of bacon, cut into inch-bits or not. While bacon is still soft, but has rendered some of the fat, add one or two large chopped onions and fry a bit more. Dump beans in a colander and rinse, then add to pot. Add salt, pepper if you like, and a mere thought of garlic, then cover and cook at least 45 minutes.

They will cook down "considerable" and make approximately as much as two cans of Del Monte before cooking. These beans are not to be taken lightly, not the frivolous opening of the above DM for a quick GREEN addition to a meal. Pickled beans are SERIOUS, and should be served with the respect due a carefully-considered, long-taking task. Besides, they're DELICIOUS!!

For REALLY special, peel a couple of dozen baby red potatoes, just one little strip around, and drop on top the last twenty minutes of cooking. Scatter a bit of salt across the potatoes when you put them in the pot, and cover so they steam to a creamy softness.

Beans as they appeared on our Thanksgiving table:

gallery_23100_2206_20056.jpg

Fine with turkey and all, but with a hot, crisp pan of cornbread, a fried chickenleg or two, and some of that preciously-guarded cut field corn from the freezer, baked with butter and salt and presented crusty and golden---THAT'S to be thankful for. :wub:

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[

"Receipts" were what cooking directions were called by a couple of aunts who had "married into" the family.  We took to saying either/or, and definitely calling them "Aunt Etta's receipt for teacakes," or "Aunt Len's receipt for Lane Cake."

Ours were all "recipes" but we gave the honors to the giver, still decades later. 

Just noticed this. I still have friends in southern Indiana, city dwellers for generations, who send me "receipts."

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I was always tempted to put the silent "p" into receipts---it was in recipes, after all, and should have been sounded out in receipts, as well, I thought. I'm going to go in search of the recipe box today---a good day to stay in and do some cozy little home things.

I know the lime pickles by heart (no actual citrus involved, though I have lifelong LONGED to try one of Amy March's beloved pickled limes). And the dills, and the okra/eggplant/green tomato, which are all the same operation. I just walked by the pickle shelves and swirled a tiny squat Mason of the green grape tomatoes---their firm, close packing has given way to a little shrinkage, and they rolled around the edges of the jar like a snowglobe, making my tongue tingle for a taste. I know what I'm having with my toasted hoop-cheese sandwich for lunch.

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deleted -- answer to question provided later in the FoodBlog ...


Edited by JasonZ (log)

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