July 21, 2010

Here's a Rather Funny Sounding Word.... "Cucurbits"

Here's a rather funny sounding word; "cucurbits"! This word refers to cucurbitaceae, which is the plant family  more widely known as melons & gourds!! (Including cucumbers, zuchinni, watermelons, pumpkins etc.) Who knew that?? I sure didn't! This month's 'Can-Jam' was chosen by 'Laudry Etc' .... thanks for the vocabulary lesson!

What a hard choice.... but, it is WAY TOO EARLY for pumpkins (that would have been fun) so that gets crossed off the list. I did find a delicious looking watermelon jelly recipe that I hope to try later in the summer, but for now I have to stick with cucumbers or zuchinni and the hard choice between 'Dill Pickles" (an annual event in our home!), zuchinni relish (also VERY yummy!) or the pickles that we have dubbed "Audrey Pickles"!! The boys' favorite are the dills but Audrey's favorite is the "Crisp Sweet Pickle"!! By default, since we don't have alot of cucumbers yet, the zuchinni wins!

In 1991, we traveled down to Charleston, SC and my mother's wise advice was; "Be sure to always buy a cookbook from the areas that you visit....." While we were checking out the area I found this delightful cookbook called, "Caterin' To Charleston"! It has lots of fun recipes but this one caught my eye and has been a family treasure ever since!

As with EVERY good cook, I make my own changes! The basic change that I've made to this recipe is that instead of slicing the cucumbers or zuchinnis, I use rinds. This way, I use the smaller cucs for dill pickles and the ones that get away from me, I use to make these pickles!! (Rind: peel the cuc or zuc then slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and cut the rest into bite sized chunks) BRAINSTORM: I'd LOVE to try this with recipe watermelon rinds.... I bet that would be amazing!!  **NOTE** The lime the recipe calls for is a pickling lime...  I've found the "Mrs.Wages" brand in the local feed & seed stores and in larger chains of dept. stores that carry canning supplies!

The second change I made is water bathing!!  This recipe doesn't call for water bathing, but from what I've been learning this year.... I now waterbath my pickles for 10 minutes!! 

The best thing about these pickles is that they don't need the curing time as dill pickles do!! They are ready to eat immediately! Delicious on your plate or cut up even smaller and added to potato salad!! :)


mad4books said...

Okay, it is time for me to confess something. Past time, actually. It's been getting harder and harder to keep it under my hat--nobody else knows my Deep Dark Secret (not even Karen!)--but it's time to put on my Big Girl Panties and tell the truth.

I'm terrified of canned food.

I follow your blog with interest, and every once in a while, wish I could TASTE the things in your mouth-watering pictures...but only within 48 hours of its processing.

After it's been canned and sitting on a dark shelf in your basement, I'd have to be STARVING to be brave enough to screw off that Kerr lid. (Have you seen shelves of food in other people's basements that are a little off-color and covered in dust and may be leftover from the Eisenhower years? You know you have!)

It's insane, isn't it? anyone else worried that some of the pickles aren't down in the brine? They're up above the fluid level! They're getting salmonella! Everyone's gonna die...or at least have one Really Terrible Weekend!

And why aren't they green? Aren't pickles supposed to be green?

And cloves? CLOVES? If I muster up enough courage to eat a beige salmonella-soaked "pickle" and then accidentally get a clove in my mouth, there might be a "reversal of fortune" at the picnic.

P.S. Whew. Grandma was right. It does feel better not to keep a secret. No offense to the pickles or my dear friend, the Mad Canner, of course! (Irrational phobias are my own personal cross to long as you don't start canning clowns or frogs or monkeys, I'll keep coming back to Simply Loving Home.)

Melanie said...

An intersting phobia my friend! I'm here, alive & well after being raised on 'canned' foods. Pete's family canned even more then my mom did... and he's alive & well as are our kids! :)

There is a chance as with ANY food product... that one could (underscore could) get sick, but there are also things to watch & listen for when you open jars of food.... the pssss sound when opening the lids, the sight & smell of food etc.

My Aunt Dayle taught me a little saying that has since become one of my favorites having to do with all things food.... "WHEN IN DOUBT, THROUGH IT OUT!" It has served me well... and I've probably tossed perfectly good food out, but better safe then sorry!

When one 'cans' food, there are also steps to follow: the food is fresh & clean, the jars are sterilized in HOT water, lids are also in HOT water to encourage them in sealing, and then the jars of food themselves after filling them are either water bathed OR pressure canned for a specific length of time(depending on the acidic levels of the food).

See, nothing to be afraid of!! :)

That specific pickle isn't green because I peeled the outer skin off of it! I only wanted the 'meat' part to make a rind pickle. I could have added green food coloring as the recipe said, but YUK... I didn't want to add it!
I should have filled the jar to the rim, but I didn't... they will be ok, but most likely just cuz, I will toss the top 2-3 out. :) Feeling better yet?

Yes, ha ha ha... I have seen those shelves of food! I had one of them before we moved, but not from the Eisenhower years... Regan perhaps, but not Eisenhower! :) I've heard tell that they will last a LONG, LONG time... but I tend to be with you on this one. If they are around that long in my house, either the batch didn't come out right, or no one likes them!! AND, OUT THEY GO!! :) I label my jars after each batch, so I know which jars of food belong together and then we can keep track of the good & not so good ones! :) (Crisp vs. soggy pickles, too sweet or sour of applesauce, jellies that didn't set etc.)

So you see my dear friend, there is a method to my madness that works all of these 'fears' out to a good end! :) I do hope you are able to sleep better now since you've made such a big confession!
Love you bunches my sweet & crazy friend! :)

PS... Grandma was right!! AND... I promise you that I will NEVER can clowns, frogs or monkeys! So, you are safe... you can keep coming back!

Melanie said...

OOOPS.... what was I thinking,
Aunt Dayle's saying should read:


That is what I get trying to hurry, write and get out the door in a matter of minutes!

mad4books said...

My Aunt Dayle had a similar saying, "When in doubt...let's EAT OUT!"


e3 said...

wow. this is exactly the recipe that has recently been passed down to me from my great aunt who lived in western tennessee. i made two batches this summer and they are excellent.
Todd S
Hernando MS