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I bought some jars of pickles at our local Leamington Spa Food Festival last week. I felt obliged after I'd tasted all thirty-seven samples. Eventually, I had to stop sampling. There are only so many 'I-may-buy-this-one' faces one can make and, anyway, the queue behind me stretched back to the M40 and held up traffic.
A jam caused by pickle
The full-size jars cost as much as it would to go and pick my own mangoes in Malaysia, so I opted for a set of four mini-jars costing a fiver.
I bought these flavours:
Beer and Honey Mustard
Spicy Tomato Chutney
All I can tell you is that the lime pickle is very tasty and goes well with cold meat. I almost didn't get to find that out, because the lid took ten minutes to prise off and when it did finally come free, it was with such force that I nearly lime-pickled the dining room walls. We've been talking about redecorating, but were thinking more Ivory Cream or Pale Gold than Accidental Chutney.
As for the other three jars, the lids won't shift. My husband tried - he can't get them off either.
I wrote to the lady who makes the pickles - her email address was on the card that came with the mini-jars - and asked her whether she ought to adjust her lid machine, but she tells me she screws the lids on by hand.
I replied to her email, 'What? Are you bionic?'
Her reply was quite distant, as though she'd thought our relationship of pickle-seller and pickle-customer not chummy enough for jokes. Fair enough, I thought, if you were selling haute couture ballgowns or six-figure-priced diamond watches, but I think there's room in the pickle industry for a touch of informality.
The pickle lady has suggested a) banging on the lids to loosen them and b) running the jars under warm water. I will try these tonight.
My third option, failing all else, is c) Take up body-building.
Four years later, Fran was in shape, but the pickles had gone mouldy