Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pickled Mouse Melons


"Mom," said the Wom, "my mouse melons are ready to be picked. Can we cook them?"

What is a mouse melon?

"I'll pick some and bring them in. Okay?"

Okay.


Mouse melons are Lilliputian-sized melons that taste like a cucumber with a little bit of a tang. They do look like they might appear at a mouse's summer picnic! After he brought them in, I asked if we could pickle them. He agreed. We didn't have enough to fill a jar, so I cubed some regular-sized cucumbers from our CSA box to add in. This is a small recipe because we barely had enough for one jar...and I had leftover brine at these measurements. Thank goodness I had some other things to pickle as well.


Ingredients
  • mouse melons to fill pint jar (we used regular cubed cucumbers to fill the space)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1 t raw honey
  • 1/2 C salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 t peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Procedure
Bring water, vinegar, honey, and salt to boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. In the meantime, poke a hole with a toothpick or skewer in each of the mouse melons so that the brine can penetrate the thick skin.


In the sterilized jar, place 1 garlic clove, 1 bay leaf, and a pinch of peppercorns. Pack in the mouse melons tightly to the halfway point. Place in the remaining garlic clove, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Continue to pack in the mouse melons to within 1/2" of the top. 

Pour boiling brine over the top of the mouse melons. Wipe rim, position lid over the top and screw ring on just until they hold tightly.

Place jar in a large pot and fill with water to cover jars.  Cover the pot and place pan over high heat.  Allow water to come to a rolling boil, leave lid on, and boil hard for 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes are up, shut off heat, remove lid and allow the jar to sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes.  Remove jar to a cooling rack and allow to cool, undisturbed. I heard mine seal within 5 minutes of being removed from the pot. But I left them alone overnight.

When jar and their contents are completely cooled, wipe them down with a clean, damp cloth and store in a cool, dry place.  The pickled mouse melon will be ready to eat in 4 weeks. You will probably see these on our Thanksgiving table!

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