Yummmmm . . .All the pickles have turned out so well, but these sour pickles . . .the best! And the good news is they're the easiest. Suddenly, the bread-and-butter sweet ones seem like some extra work. And they're not hard either.
I've been using Sandor Katz's recipe from his fabulous book Wild Fermentation, but good news for you, his pickle and sauerkraut recipes are posted on his web site. What an equal opportunity dedicated fermentalist he is. We had the great good fortune of hosting Sandor at our home in Blue Lake some years ago with our dear friend Frank Cook . It's been so sad to lose Frank and the grieving is definitely in process, but the best thing to do is to keep doing the work and sharing it.
Would you believe, a few days after Frank's passing, the book Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie mysteriously appeared in our mailbox? We can now walk our backyard and nearby oak savannah and befriend our plant neighbors one at a time. Frank taught so that we could teach ourselves. I took his knowledge for granted and told him I needed him to come and teach me my own backyard. He certainly taught me enough to do it myself . . .though it won't be as much fun as having him by my side, sharing a backyard tea and fresh meal.
We have been sharing with another new friend. Larry is a local who has adopted us. Retired, but very busy, he tends to his 60 acres by growing 2 huge gardens, restoring his fields to native prairie, and growing corn for the resident deer and turkeys to eat all winter.
Once Larry found out that I will make use of whatever arrives on my doorstep, we've been recipients of an abundance of harvest goodness. This is my third box of cucumbers from Larry and, I have the feeling, just the beginning of the tomatoes. I've learned some Minnesota speak from Larry. When he tells me he "didn't do so much in the garden this year," that it's "not doing so well what with the cold and dry," and that he might have "just a few cucumbers," I've learned to clear my kitchen and buy some jars.
The other night found me sorting and washing pickles into the dark. Happy Harvest time!
If you're interested in checking out Frank's message of his just completed thesis, which was the same message he shared as we sat in circle in June, take a look at this. There are not many people who know what their mission is. Even fewer are living it. If there's any one teaching I'm integrating from Frank life, that's the one that is his greatest gift to me.