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The lazy man’s way to pickles: Fresh dill pickles need no canning

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Blue Kitchen

(Read caption) Kirby cucumbers become fresh dill pickles virtually overnight with vinegar, herbs, and spices.

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A friend of ours is very good at blackjack. She’s actually gone on Caribbean vacations and stayed at casinos, where her daily routine has been to hit the tables for a couple of hours in the morning, long enough to make dinner and walking around money for the day, then head to the beach. She can do this fairly reliably. When incredulous friends ask why she doesn’t do it for a living, she says simply, “Then it would be work.”

This goes a long way toward explaining my lack of interest in canning, I think. I love to cook (I hope you can tell that much from my weekly ramblings here). But I love doing other things too. I’m not one of those people who fantasizes about spending an entire day in the kitchen. Canning, to me, involves a little bit of messing with food and a whole lot of work – much of it around boiling, steaming cauldrons of water.

That scenario clashes with my desire to do other things. And, if we’re being totally honest, a certain amount of laziness. When I was a kid, some get-rich-quick scheme ran ads in the backs of comic books with the headline “The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches.” I can’t remember the gist of the scheme (and I’m sure the only one who got rich from it was the guy running the ads), but taking “the lazy man’s way to riches” became my code for taking shortcuts. Repairing something with duct tape. Cramming clutter into the spare bedroom moments before company arrives.

Or in this case, making pickles without canning them. The first time I heard about fresh pickles, marinated overnight or over several days in vinegar and herbs and spices, but not officially canned, it was an epiphany. No, you didn’t have something that would last through the winter ahead, but you had something you could eat almost immediately – crunchy, tart, tangy and open to all kinds of interpretations. And you didn’t have to boil a single jar.

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