It is not at all hard to make pickles. All it takes is a few vital ingredients: cucumbers, some brine, a jar, and some patience. If you're missing any of these things, your pickles won't turn out so hot. Also, it seems I've just discovered if you have too much patience, that's also a bad thing in the pickle making world.
I found a can (yes a can) of Osem Mediterranean pickles on the shelf during my most recent visit to Publix. The bright yellow can practically jumped off the shelf, and the big green comic book style word bubble proclaiming "Medium Size Pickles in Brine (7-9 pickles per can)" made me giggle. The rest of the print on the can was basic stuff: Product of Israel, No preservatives, Kosher for Passover and all year round, and a list of ingredients. Inside this can is a combination of cucumbers, water, salt, acetic acid, dill, garlic, pepper, and calcium chloride. Nothing there scares me in any way, and I imagine these will be just like the pickles you buy at the deli, with a little added tin flavor thanks to the packaging.
I brought the can home and cracked open the top with the aid of the handy pull tab. The smell that came rushing out was much less vinegary pickle scent and much more canned tuna scent. Within a few seconds, my cat was vigorously rubbing my leg and meowing. It might have been a coincidence, but I don't think so. When I peer into the can, I see a few pickles floating in milky white brine. This is definitely not what I was expecting.
I take another deep breath and can't shake the feeling this can was once used as a home for the chicken of the sea. Seeing that I loathe tuna fish, this has all but spoiled what little appetite I'd mustered for these pickles. With typically low expectations, I drive a fork into the most immediately visible pickle and pull it out of the sea of milk.
And the third grade me giggles hysterically for a solid minute. Never
in my life have I seen such a sad looking pickle. Once I regain my
composure, I raise the pickle to my mouth and take a bite. The
satisfying crunch I'm expecting doesn't come. Instead, my teeth slide
through the pickle as if I'm biting into a tube of old yogurt. Despite
the awful texture, the pickle actually tastes pretty good: There's
enough garlic, dill, and pepper to add a spicy kick, salt isn't
overwhelming, and the "tin can" taste is hardly noticeable. I throw
away the rest of that pickle and spear another one, hoping the texture
was an anomaly. It wasn't. Every pickle in the jar (all 9 of them) has
the same jelly-like consistency.
Who should eat these? Teething infants who have an intense craving for
aged cucumbers, fuzzy black cats, and Pnigophobics who need dill in
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.