Fresh pickled crooks
Recipe by Sarah Wasserman
This is another recipe from my mother in law, Sylvia. Crooks are little cucumbers which are thin and quite twisty, hence crook as in crooked. They have a wonderful bendy quality which means they are ideal for squeezing into jars. I'm afraid they aren't super easy to find. We find them in Middle Eastern/ Greek shops on the Edgware Rd, Holloway Rd and Golders Green (all London), but they turn up in other places too.
This is a nice spring recipe because you can use any seasonal herbs you have around. They are fresh pickles so they keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge but you can't keep them for ages like ordinary pickles. They are the perfect thing to make on a weekend when your having people round for a BBQ the following weekend.
This is a tricky recipe to write as the measurements aren't really very exact as is so often the case with family recipes but basically get a big jar and we'll go from there.
Crooks (enough to fill a big jar)
Celery with lots of leaves (you just need the leaves)
2-5 Cloves of garlic
Cracked black pepper (pestle and mortar are ideal)
White wine vinegar
Optional ingredients (depending on what you like and what is available):
1) Get enough crooks to fill a large jar. Choose the smaller bendy ones (the ones pictured could be slightly more twisty but its the best we could do). About an 2cm to 3cm. Wash them.
2) Choose a large jar, I used a kilner jar which is 22cm high and 12cm wide, and sterilize the jar by filling with boiling water (from the kettle is fine).
3) Boil some water, enough to fill around half the the jar. Allow the water to cool till just warm.
4) Put around 2cm of white wine vinegar in the jar. Start to jam the crooks in with the herbs and garlic. Crooks are nice and pliable so you can really cram them in.
5) Season the warm water generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper and pour over the crooks in the jar until completely covered. Then give the jar a shake to make sure the vinegar distributes evenly.
6) Let the jar sit outside the fridge for a 24 hours or so and then put in the fridge. Consume within 2-3 weeks.