I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

"Teacher"

“I miss the days when I could lift my weight in wild cats!”  An old guy told me that when I bought home-grown produce from him yesterday.  Classic old guy stuff.  I have to wonder where they come up with their material.  I said, “Maybe you still could if they were dead wild cats?” and the old guy laughed because I played his game.  I looked at him closer and could almost see the young guy he used to be hiding behind his eyes.

Old guys know a lot of stuff.  Maybe I should’ve hung out for a while and let him teach me some things?  What is becoming increasingly clear to me after several failed attempts to write this post is that I don’t feel like writing about teachers today.  I want to make pickles.  The cukes are sliced up, salted, and chilling right now, just waiting for the real action of canning.  I’m making bread and butter pickles, which I realize a lot of people don’t like as much as dills, but it’s a comfort food from childhood for me sometimes.  Here’s what you do…

Slice up a bunch of cucumbers and onions.  Layer them in a big container with pickling salt and ice and let sit for an hour or two.  In a big pot, combine 2 cups sugar, 2 Tbsp mustard seed, 2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp peppercorns, and 3 cups apple cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then add the rinsed cukes and onions, and return to a boil.  Pack into hot canning jars with ¼” headspace, and process in hot water for 10 minutes.  The recipe says this makes 7 pints, but I pack in more than 4 pounds of cucumbers when I’m doing it, so I get more jars than that.  It sounds a lot easier than it actually is too.  That’s a lot of slicing and standing over a hot stove.  Thankfully it’s a perfect summer day, yet cool enough for canning.

If you want an easier recipe for dills, buy a jar of pickles that you like.  When all the pickles are gone, cut up some cukes, submerge them in the leftover pickle juice, and put in the refrigerator.  If you leave them alone for a week or two, they’ll taste like your store-bought pickles.  This only works about 1 ½ times, then you have to buy some new pickles and start over, or use this recipe… Cut 8 pounds of cucumbers in half lengthwise.  In a pot, combine ½ cup sugar, ½ cup canning salt, 1 quart vinegar, 1 quart water, 3 Tbsp pickling spice, fresh or dry dill.  When the mixture is hot and well dissolved, pour over cukes, seal, and put in the fridge.

I’m going to have a lot of pickles next year because I ran out in March this year.  That’s completely unacceptable.  I’m convinced eating pickles will make you live longer because an old woman told me so.  Well, okay, she said a spoonful of apple cider vinegar every day would make you live longer, but I believe in taking artistic license with such advice.  It even makes a bit of sense – the vinegar as a tonic anyway.  Vinegar is astringent, so swallowing some every day might actually keep your insides clean.

Old people are the best teachers – even if they can’t lift their weight in wild cats any more. I should go back and give that old guy a jar of pickles :)

22 comments:

  1. Samples graciously received... :o)

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  2. In the old days, I could've just driven a jar over for you Rand, but I resist having to get a passport to go to Canada. I could try tossing one over the border?

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    1. Oh I can just hear the air force alert now, "Incoming pickle!" lol

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  3. O Linda, I never knew you were a pickle girl like me! My mouth is watering...I wish I was closer as I would be round to test them.... I have always loved pickles but when I was pregnant with the kids I had a total craving and used to get up in the night, open the fridge and munch through a few! I love the idea of using the vinegar from a shop bought pot. You have been my "teacher" today and your drawing is brilliant. Love this post! Have a sunny weekend, we're getting up to 30c today..wahoo!
    Jane x

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  4. I find that old people make a lot of stuff up.
    Very cool illustration, though.

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  5. Thank you for teaching how to make pickles! ;-)

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  6. I love those old guys who can toss you a comment so out of nowhere. As you say the ones who have lived a little while do have a lot we others can learn from. What a saying, lifting one's weight in wild cats. I am sure he would appreciate a jar of those pickles. Thanks for the recipe - and have a nice weekend!

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  7. Great line...makes me think it would've been great to stay awhile longer and have him explain that statement! But wow, what a great post about pickles! I am bookmarking this, Linda. You've taught us well. Also, thanks for your keen eye today..I am grateful!

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  8. That is a great line. My garden failed this year and a I had a crazy, really hungry rabbit to deal with, so no pickles this year. I like bread and butter pickles, they remind me of my grandmother. I usually make refrigerator pickles, but your bread and butter brine looks yummy. I'll have to give it a try. Looks like I'll have to get cucumbers from the farmers market this year ;)

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  9. Haha Linda, yes I was reading that and I thought gee I am salivationg - especially when I figured out what 'cukes' were. I nevere ever ever knew that. (That they made me hungry) See visit Hensely and see what you learn, You know, I went to a freind's sixtieth the other night - there were all groups of his friends there. Ther was the 'artr' crowd, the uni crowd and the 'rich' crowd. You could tell the rich crowd because all the wives had interesting faces - kind of swollen and wrinkless and aged about 26 - but they were stuck on necks and heads and bodies that belonged to sixty year olds. So what can you learn from old people - don't have plastic surgery :)

    Hey your fishing ties are beautiful and delicate http://www.artbyhensley.com/Fine_Art.html

    see you soon

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  10. ahh sorry about the typos - that's just so you know it was me :)

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  11. Thanks everybody! Between a deer and a groundhog, I didn't get very much from my garden this year so I had to buy my produce, but it's kind of fun to buy from old guys like this. And thanks Andrew. I'm feeling kind of happy that my parts are aging in unison. It's good when we can think of good things about not having money!

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  12. I had absolutely nothing for teacher. I can usually dig something up. Thanks for teaching us about pickles. And passing on the recipe. I have some super spicy homemade dills in the fridge right now.

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  13. I'd wager that old guy might be able to lift his weight in wild pickles... They're much less squirrelly.
    You, yourself seem to know quite a lot as is evidenced by your weekly posts... ~~be careful you don't turn into an old guy by surprise!
    thanks for the pickle lesson.

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  14. "Lift my weight in wild cats..." hmmmm.....a colorful statement, just like that beautifully rendered cucumber! Another great post! Have missed your blog since the new format if IF - but I'm all subscribed-up now!! There'll be no getting rid of me! ;)

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  15. There can never be enough pickles in the world, right?! Thanks for the comments everyone!

    I'm happy you found me again Mit, and thanks for the follow!!

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  16. Yes, you should definitely go back and give him a jar of pickles, and maybe hang out a little bit and talk.

    I didn't feel much like writing about teachers either, or do anything with art related to teachers. My "excuse", if I needed one, which I don't, is that I AM a teacher, and I'm too busy this week because school just started, and I have a ton of planning, and already stacks of things to read, and I don't even know half of my student's names yet.

    But next week......

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  17. Special pass given to teachers this week! I appreciate your work and wish you well this school year. Though I'll be looking forward to what you do next week Coreopsis :)

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  18. Quite the excellent rendering of the pickle, Linda! Thanks, too, for the recipe :)

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  19. Mmmm, bread and butter pickles! So summery! Love your w/c cuke- Thanks for sharing your pickle recipes! :o)

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  20. Happy to spread pickles around. Thanks for the comments!

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