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Monday, October 11, 2010

we go way back.

         Oh me and the honey bear we go way back.Funny I've had a few birthdays since we met and the honey bear hasn't changed a bit. The first memory I have of this cute little plastic bottle was in my Grandmother Sue's kitchen over on Minor Rd. I don't have lots of memories of that house ,but the few I do have I relish.
         I remember making biscuits at the kitchen counter. I remember watching cartoons on Saturday mornings and I remember the plastic pool she had in the backyard.Oh yeah and don't forget the sandbox and Slip-n-Slide. We all remember the Slip-n-Slide don't we? Ok maybe not.Allow me to explain: It was essentially a plastic mat that you ran water over then sat back and watched as the unsuspecting little kid backed up as far as she could go in the yard,started running as fast as she could,then slid into home base on the Slip-n-Side and ultimately sliding face first into the grassy spot at the end of the water-soaked mat.Oh my gosh those were the days.I have a few pictures of these fabulous days of my childhood,but will spare the long walk down memory lane and also spare the sweet family members in those photos, who might not enjoy seeing themselves at three years old playing in that green plastic turtle-shaped sandbox in her purple bathing suit, sister you know who I'm talking about don't you???
    Ok back to me and the honey bear. Somehow either be it my affinity for said honey bear or for the honey inside was just that good,the honey bear has followed me over the years.It has always been in the kitchens in the different houses I grew up in and now has made it's home in mine. Incidentally,my sweet,crafty Grandmother Sue also carried one in her coffee bag when she came to visit (after she moved to Kissimmee,Florida-um, can we mention Disney World memories,oh goodness we'll be here all night,moving along). She always brought with her in her luggage the coffee kit. My grandmother is a connoisseur of instant coffee.Yep folks apparently being a coffee snob runs in the family. She has tasted and tried all kinds of brands and would graciously bring you up to speed on her favorites. She prefers to use honey in her cup of coffee instead of granulated sugar and therefore toted that honey bear in her coffee kit until the invention of honey sticks (little plastic straws filled with honey and sealed at each end for easy transport,oh technology).
    So when I saw this recipe for Honeyed Sunshine Pickles all I could do was smile and reach for some honey.I made these pickles on a wing and a prayer. The ingredients threw me for a loop at first,but I couldn't get my mind off this recipe. Could it be my love of honey or memories of the Slip-n-Slide,who knows. I do know that these  pickles have a hint of mustard,the sweetness of the honey and taste like summer. Enjoy!
Honeyed Sunshine Pickles
adapted from The Joy of Pickling,by Linda Ziedrich
pages 93-94
(oh yeah I first enjoyed these pickles on some bratwurst bought from 
the Downtown Memphis Farmers Market,made by these folks,oh what a treat.)
makes 7 pints
Ingredients:
7 lbs. ripe cucumbers,peeled,seeded and cut into
  crescents or 1-inch chunks
1 lb. onions,halved and sliced thin
1/4 c pickling or canning salt
21 thin slices fresh ginger
3 1/2 c cider vinegar
1 c water
1 1/4 c honey
1/4 c minced fresh hot peppers,such as jalapenos or Fresno peppers
2 TBL whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp whole celery seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 c golden raisins
Directions:
1. In a large bowl,toss the cucumbers and onions with the salt,and cover the vegetables with ice cubes from 2 ice trays. Let the vegetables stand at room temperature for 3-5 hours.
2. Drain the vegetables,rinse them and the drain the well again.
3. Put 3 slices of ginger into each of the 7 pint mason jars.
4.In a large,non-reactive pot ,bring the remaining ingredients to a boil,stirring to dissolve the honey. Add the drained vegetables and slowly bring the mixture back to a boil. Meanwhile prepare your canned,lids and jars.
Ladle the hot vegetables and liquid into the jars,leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps. In a a boiling water bath,process the jars for  10 minutes.Or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes by immersing them in water heated to 180 to 185 degrees.

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