I remember being pretty small and going to Messina’s delicatessen in Willow Grove and occasionally being allowed to get one giant pickle from the barrel by the counter. My sister, Julie, and I likely shared it as my mom finished her shopping. Probably about a dozen years later Julie and I were with my then-boyfriend-now-husband watching the fireworks on Independence Day. We had stopped at the store on the way downtown and in the tradition of his family picked up a hunk of bread, some salami, and what was surely a runny cheese. Julie and I insisted we also get a jar of pickles, probably Vlasic, and Stefan didn’t see why. Well, I don’t know what happened to the bread and cheese but I do remember the pickles were long gone by the grand finale. Those dills were no match for two teenage girls.
However, it wasn’t until this past year that I discovered how much our father also loves pickles. The man has been going through last year’s quarts faster then… well I don’t know what but really fast. As I got down to one quart left on the shelf I decided I needed to do something serious and quickly. I brought out the half-gallon jars and made a batch to tide him over until I get a bushel from the farm.
FRUIT: 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: buttoned up pickles
YIELD: 2 half-gallons and a pint of extras in the fridge