The annual ritual is drawing to a close. I’ve just finished my second batch of pickles…two dozen jars which should carry us through the coming year… with a few for special sharing. It’s a two-week long process for each batch. Yes, two weeks! So why on earth do I make them? When my days always seem too short of hours, why this singular investment of so much time? It’s worth it for several reasons. Let me share.
- Tradition. These are the pickles my mother-in-law made. When Larry and I married, it was one of the first recipes she shared with me, an old family favorite she’d perfected over the years. In the Young family they are absolutely de rigueur with tuna sandwiches, not to mention as a required side for hot dogs, and featured on every holiday relish tray!
- Focus. It takes single-minded focus to create these gems. Step-by-step. From choosing firm, small cucumbers at the Farmer’s Market, to a week of brining, to heating and re-heating the syrup in which they ultimately reside. Making these pickles requires a break from my normal multi-tasking routine, and reminds me that sometimes, doing one thing at a time can be most satisfying.
- Gift. Creating these pickles each year is a gift. In honor of my husband’s mother who not only trusted me with her recipe, but more importantly with her only son. Given in love for my husband, who enjoys every pickle-y sweet bite each time he crunches into one. And ultimately, they’re a gift of my time, myself, and my commitment to the process. Every jar is my gift of ‘home’ in so many ways.
The rings are tightened. The labels are going on in the morning. Jars will be stored away on a cool, dark shelf to be opened one by one as consumption and occasion demands.
Yes, the pickles are done. Now where’s my peach chutney recipe?
Do you have a family recipe that’s a tradition for you? When do you make it… and why? I hope you’ll share with us, and if you’d like to know how to make the pickles, drop me a line.