2622 Mixed pickles

Prigotovlenie pikuleg

Method

Take young carrots cut into stars, small cucumbers, peeled young lettuce stalks, cauliflower and its young stalks, also peeled, finely sliced young Indian corn,* the pods of turnip seeds, and nasturtium seeds. All these must be very young. Add small, unripe muskmelons, watermelons, green plums, small saffron milk-cap mushrooms, asparagus, peeled purslane stalks, small peeled onions, young sugar pea pods, and green beans. Wipe off everything thoroughly with a napkin. For 3 glasses salt, use ¼ lot saltpeter and 20 grains alum. Dilute with 5 lbs, or 10 glasses, water, bring to a boil, skim, and cool. Add all the above-mentioned vegetables to this water, set on top of the stove, and let it come to a boil once. Turn into a coarse sieve to drain. When the vegetables have dried, pack them into small glass jars and cover with boiled and cooled vinegar. Pour off the vinegar after two weeks when it has become cloudy and pour on fresh, very strong, cold vinegar that has been boiled with tarragon, allspice, black pepper, and red pepper. Tie bladders around the jars and store in boxes in dry sand.

*Maize or Indian corn is a New World plant that was first domesticated by the Mexicans and was brought to Spain by Columbus in the late fifteenth century. During the next century, the plant gradually spread around the world, but mainly took hold in warm climates around the Mediterranean, especially Italy. By the late seventeenth century, corn meal had become a staple in Rumania and Moldavia, where it displaced wheat as the basic component in the national dish, mamal’ga, which resembles polenta. The use of corn spread less rapidly in Russia, however, no doubt in part because of the climate. As late as 1847, the Tsarist government authorized the distribution of free seed to encourage its cultivation in Russia. Since ground corn meal obviously keeps somewhat better and is easier to transport than fresh cobs, it is understandable why Molokhovets used corn meal frequently and easily, but seemed unfamiliar with methods for handling fresh ears. This is the sole recipe, in fact, in this edition to call for fresh corn, although the later undated German edition also included instructions for boiling corn on the cob. (Pokhlebkin, Natsional’nye kukhni, 111; and Guba, Tainy shchedrogo stola, 81.)