Wind Pickles

August 12, 2020


Parts of the pandemic have been so interesting. Lots of people, both to fill time and to thwart the potential food-scarcity issue, turned to learning pioneer-style skills: bread baking, gardening, and now, it seems, canning and preserving. I was complaining to my family about all the cucumbers I have, and my sister suggested I make pickles. My parents put up pickles every year throughout my childhood, so – theoretically – I was in the room when it happened, and – theoretically – I should know something about it.

I do not.

My dad sent me an easy recipe, and since there were so many cucumbers from one batch, I thought I’d give it a shot. First, you slice them up and put them in a salt brine for 24 hours. That’s plenty of time to second-guess if you should do this or not. I cut them up, stuck ’em in some salt water, then went to the store for the rest of the supplies.

Erm, EVERYONE is making pickles right now. I kid you not – EVERYONE. There was no fresh dill, only two jars of dill weed, two boxes of jars (at two stores) and ZERO canning lids. I have plenty of jars and only needed some lids, but nope. Apparently Lincoln and Omaha stores are reporting shortages. Good grief.

I carried on with what I had. I found dill, alum, turmeric, and had some ancient mustard seed from when I tried to make homemade mustard decades ago. The only thing I didn’t have was a grape leaf. I looked up what it’s for, and it releases tannins that keep pickles from turning soft. Acceptable replacements are black tea, horseradish leaves, or oak leaves. Oak! I have an oak tree! I went out to get some leaves, but there is a small, wait – tall problem.

I need a ladder.

I looked for some baby oak trees, but fortunately the wind (hence the pickle name) had knocked some small branches down.

Ok, time to start. I drained my salty cucumbers, boiled the jar, boiled a vinegar solution, and had Lloyd help put some spices together.

See you in five to eight weeks, “pickles”.

It’s a giant jar I got at a garage sale.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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One Response to “Wind Pickles”

  1. Brad Said on:

    Wow. You’re doing actual pickles. I think I would do the cheater kind, where you just put them in a vinegar/brine thing and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of days. What are those called? Icebox pickles?


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