Meet Piper Lamb from the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries
by Mary Ellen Hughes
I’m excited to be a guest on Mystery Lover’s Kitchen to share one of my pickling recipes! Writing a Pickled and Preserved mystery series means I’ve tried a great variety of recipes that my character, Piper Lamb, cooks up in the back kitchen of her pickling shop. Piper absolutely loves pickling, which is why she left her hum-drum job (and an ex-fiancé) in Albany to set up a shop in Cloverdale, NY.
I don’t have as much time to make pickles and preserves as Piper does, what with having to write about Piper’s murder-investigating adventures, so my favorite pickles are these quick and easy – and wonderfully tasty—freezer pickles.
I put up bunches of them in August, when my husband’s vegetable garden is overflowing. But cucumbers are also available in the supermarkets at all times of the year. There’s no cooking or canning required, and the pickles last in the freezer for months. When they’ve been defrosted and are refrigerated, they’ll be good for at least three weeks—if they last that long!
8 cups sliced cucumbers
2 medium-sized onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pickling or kosher salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Wash and slice the cucumbers. Stir in the sliced onions, then sprinkle with pickling salt. Mix well, cover, and let stand for 3 hours. Rinse the cucumbers and onions well, and drain thoroughly.
Combine sugar, vinegar, and celery seeds, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour the brine over the cucumbers, mix and cover, then refrigerate overnight.
Spoon the cucumbers and onions into straight-sided containers and cover with brine, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Seal and freeze. When ready to defrost, do so in the refrigerator for eight hours.
About LICENSE TO DILL:
Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…
After her fiancé left her, Piper came to Cloverdale to rebuild her life and open up her shop, Piper’s Picklings, to sell pickles and preserves. When her ex decides to drop in for a visit—just as things are heating up between her and a local Christmas tree farmer—Piper finds herself in a jam.
But there are other visitors to worry about…
An Italian soccer team is set to play the Cloverdale All-Stars in an exhibition game. Their manager, Raffaele Conti, was a bitter rival of Piper’s dill supplier, local farmer Gerald Standley. After Conti is found dead in Standley’s field, Piper must work to clear Gerald’s name and find out who relished killing Raffaele before the town is soured by another death.
About Mary Ellen:
Mary Ellen Hughes is the author of the Pickled and Preserved Mystery Series, which began with THE PICKLED PIPER and continues with LICENSE TO DILL. A third book, SCENE OF THE BRINE, will be released by Berkley Prime Crime in January, 2016.
She has also authored the Craft Corner Mysteries and the Maggie Olenski, Math Teacher Mysteries. Mary Ellen lives in Maryland with her husband and is happy to have time to spend on her writing after having raised two wonderful children and several delightful cats. (The cats were easier.)