"In 2006 a group of Jewish women in Sydney, Australia began meeting every Monday morning - they cooked, ate, drank endless cups of tea and discussed the merits of different recipes. After just a few weekly meetings the Monday Morning Cooking Club was born. Five years and hundreds of dishes later, six members of the sisterhood handpicked their favorite recipes to go into their book."
Pickle your way to a greener life with this recipe from Monday Morning Cooking Club (Harper Collins USA, September 2013).
Melbourne-style pickled cucumbers
Michalle and I still laugh about the pickles. As a full-time working mother I always made sure the fridge was filled with jars and food with long use-by dates, and always kept a good stock of pickled cucumbers, which I bought by the boxload. For many years I volunteered at the Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, and we would all bring in food to share, and swap recipes with each other. This recipe was given to me then. It is so simple – you will never need to buy another jar again.
80 g (G cup) salt
250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
24 fresh gherkins (pickling cucumbers), all the same size (8–10 cm in length)
1 small bunch dill, washed, bottom stalks removed
6 cloves garlic, peeled
5 red bird’s eye chillies, washed
2 slices rye bread
You will need a 2 litre (8 cup) wide-mouthed jar or earthenware container. The mouth of the jar needs to be large enough for you to put your hand in.
Make a salt water solution by mixing the salt with the boiling water to dissolve. Add cold water to make 1.5 litres (6 cups) salt water.
Leave to pickle for 7–9 days in a cool, dark place. The jar needs to stand in a deep dish, as juice might leak. The cucumbers are almost ready when they change from bright green to dark green. Wait a few more days before opening the jar. Once the jar is opened, the pickling ceases and the dill, garlic and chillies can be removed if you desire. Store the pickles in the pickling liquid in the same jar in the fridge. Keeps for months.
Trim the bread so it is just bigger than the mouth of the jar, and use the bread to seal the top of the jar, being careful that it stays in one piece. Place the second slice on top, pressing gently into the jar. Add a little more salt water, which will seep through the bread and fill any air bubbles underneath. Cover with the lid.
On top of the first layer of cucumbers, put 6–8 dill fronds, 3 cloves garlic, 3 chillies and then another very tight layer of cucumbers. Top with 6 dill fronds, then fill the jar with salt water to the rim. You will use around 1 litre (4 cups) of salt water.
Wash the cucumbers in cold water and pat dry. In the bottom of the jar, place 6 dill fronds, 3 cloves garlic and 2 chillies. Place about half the cucumbers in the jar, arranging them vertically, making sure they are a very tight fit. Try to match up sizes and shapes so there is as little air as possible. It is important that you have packed them very tightly – if you were to turn the jar upside down at this stage, the cucumbers should not move.
Pickling away for Green Day # 258
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Monday Morning Cooking Club -Harper Collins USA, September 2013-