Monday, March 4, 2013

Recipe of a Pickle

I was privileged to have lunch with Q on Friday at his workplace.  [Insert non-related thought:  if you are a Trekkie, you will undoubtedly think of the being who could appear at any time and any place during a Star Trek show, especially on the Star Trek Voyager series.  I know this because, well, I am a Trekkie...but my "Q" is my wonderful hubby, who, like the other "Q,"  will on occasion pop into a blog entry here and there...resume story.]  We sat with his co-workers and just enjoyed some witty banter.  One of the newest on board was at our table, and she reminded me that her interview was on the day I'd been making pickles.  I looked at her blankly for a moment, but then the realization of what she was referring to dawned on me.  Before I get headlong into that story, let me post the recipe for said pickles:

Red Hots Watermelon Rind Pickles
Note:  I used an 8 quart pot to make these in so water amounts are approximate.
  • 8-10 cups of watermelon rinds (white part - no pink).  These have been cut into pieces about 2" x 1/2" x 1/4."  You may also use cucumbers, about 8-9, peeled and cut into the same size.
  • 8 quarts of water
  • 2 cups pickling lime
Combine these ingredients into the large pot and soak for 24 hours.
Drain and rinse the lime off, then soak rinds in clear water for three hours.
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. of Alum
  • 1 bottle of red food coloring (optional - I did not do this - they will turn out a bright red anyway.)
  • Add enough water to cover the rinds.   
Boil for one hour then drain the rinds.
In another pot, heat the following ingredients until all are melted to make the syrup:
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 10 cups sugar (I know, I know, but you don't eat a lot of these at a time.)
  • 2 cups water 
  • 14 oz. bag of red hots
  • 8 cinnamon sticks 
  • 2 tsp. salt
When the Red Hots are melted, pour the syrup over the rinds in the large pot, cover and let stand overnight (about 24 hours.)  The next day, drain the syrup into another pot, reheat and pour back over the rinds.  Repeat this process for three days.  Reheat the final time, and put rinds into hot jars then fill remaining space to 1/2" from the top with syrup.  Cover with hot clean lids and boil jars for five minutes before removing to cool on racks.  Jar lids should pop when sealed.  These turn out to be bright red and spicy tart sweet.

Okay, here's where the story picks back up.  Q and I were up early, as usual, getting ready for work (this happened in the fall before I was let go from my job).  In the hustle and bustle of getting ready, I realized that it was the final day to reheat the syrup and pour it over the rinds.  Because I was in a rush, I decided to just heat them all up at the same time.  Well, I turned the heat on high under the pot of pickles and finished getting ready.  Since we were late getting up, we were pleased to be out the door and both of us on time for work.

As Q was interviewing the prospective employee later that morning, his phone kept going off.  He'd turned it to silent but it was obvious by the continued buzzing that someone was trying to get hold of him.  Meanwhile, I get a call at work informing me that the fire department is on their way to our house.  They had been unsuccessful reaching my husband, so they called me as our smoke alarm was going off.  

My heart dropped to my feet and I realized what had happened.  I forgot to turn off the burner under the watermelon rinds. I was out the door and on the way home very quickly.  I made all the lights between work and my home, so I'd made it in record time.  But alas, the fire department had had to break into the front door, so the burglar alarm was going off even as the fire alarm continued to blare.  Welcome to the circus on the corner.  I must say that the fireman were all very encouraging and helpful.  I was told that our fire alarm did exactly what it should have and they got there in time to stop a full blown house fire. 
We were pleased not to have any smoke or fire damage (Praise God!) thanks in part, to the new kitchen we were blessed to have just finished.  The backing behind the stove top, while very hot, was insulated enough with backer board and tile that it did not spread through the wall.  The fireman stayed extra time to make sure that the wall (behind the burner where the pot was) cooled to a safe temperature.  Everyone got there quick enough to get windows and exhaust fans open and running to draw out the smoke...

Moral of this story, if you're not very good at multitasking (that's me for sure) then don't heat something up on the stove (especially on high) while you're in a hurry to get ready and off to work.  You just might end up in a pickle (and give someone a very memorable job interview!)
Talk about some red hot watermelon rind pickles.  These were supposed to end up a nice festive bright red and not coal black, although I'm sure at some point they were very red hot!


1 comment:

  1. Wow! Glad that everything turned out better than the pickles. I've always had the fear of leaving something of the stove and forgetting about it. I think I'll tile behind our stove!