I think it's wonderful that there is a kitchen garden at the White House that is committed to organic produce. I live in Brooklyn, and don't have my own garden, but my political leanings and passion for food keep me as an avid reader of the Obama Foodarama blog. I am also a big fan of Bill Yosses, the acclaimed White House pastry chef, so I was excited to read his recipe for pickling vegetables from the White House kitchen garden. What fun! I modified this recipe to try my own recipe for making picked cucumbers (rather than other vegetables) for a more traditional pickle. They were great, especially for a first try! I was never a fan of pickles at all growing up - in fact I didn't start eating them until last year, but my husband, a longtime pickle fan, was quite impressed.
Sasha's Homemade Pickles (based on Bill Yosses' White House Recipe for pickled vegetables)
4 cups of water
2 cups white wine vinegar
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 stems thyme
12 stems rosemary
1/2 to 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 clove of garlic, whole
one purple onion, cut into slices
10 farmers' market or homegrown kirby cucumbers, cut into pieces
To prepare the pickles, combine the water, vinegar, herbs, garlic, onion, sugar and salt to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and add the kirby cucumbers to the pot. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hrs.
To can the pickles - use conventional sized Mason jars. They need to be sterilized. I used half size Mason jars because that's what I found in a pinch at the local hardware store. Sterilize the jars by dipping them with tongs in boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute. Fill the jars with the marinated pickles and solution. Simmer the jars in a pot halfway filled with hot water for about 12 minutes to sterilize the pickles. Store in a cool, dark place for four weeks to one year.
My friend Amasea who posts on this blog from time to time in Sun Valley, Idaho has her own garden and has her own fabulous recipe for pickles which I hope she'll share in the future.