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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Reasons why Fran is in a pickle

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:

Lime Pickle
Beer and Honey Mustard
Mango Chutney
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






22 comments:

  1. Hahaha! My favourite part was the bit about the traffic :) A great read. Just read it to Polly and Jacob and they LOLLED too. You see what appeal you have? Right across the generations. Brilliant!

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    1. I am pleased to hear I have all-age lollability.

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  2. One of the key reasons why I have a linoleum (or whatever the material is called nowadays) instead of a trendy tile kitchen floor is so that I can lean over and bang jar lids on it.

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    1. Ah yes. I think if I banged the jars on our floor, then we'd have No Jar Left.

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  3. You always bring a smile to my face Fran, thanks for this x
    (And I hope you're successful with those lids!)

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    1. Thanks, Mandy! Don't worry - I will post an update ...

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  4. That email exchange was brilliant, LOL! Try using a rubber lid grip, sometimes that works too. Good luck!

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    1. I must learn to think before pressing SEND. Thanks for the tip. I might try it with a balloon. (Uninflated.)

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  5. Pickles? PICKLES? The thing I detest as much as I despise my ex-husband. Bleagh pickles. Bleagh X. If my son screws on a new fluttery brush for Mrs. Roomba, then it takes me hours to unscrew the old fluttery brush and two minutes to put on a new one myself. If said son screws a lid on any jar, it can never be removed. He is, indeed, bionic, but having pushed him out of my vagina, I feel I know him well enough to discuss his superpowers.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That's as good a reason for being allowed to discuss someone's superpowers as any I've heard. I'm sure Ma Superman felt the same.

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  6. when all else fails, punch a small hole in the lid to release the vacuum
    then use the rubber mat
    and ... pickles.

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    1. Ah, the hole in the lid method. I used to know that. These pickles are going to be the most longed-for pickles in the world.

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  7. You need a "jar key" we have them here in Australia. Looks a bit like a fat plastic key, with a 'hook' under the top holey part similar to the hook on old fashioned bottle openers, the 'key' part is the handle; you hook the hook under the edge of the lid and pull the handle upwards to pop the vacuum seal and the lid unscrews easily.

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  8. My kids used to do the hole-in-the-lid method, but things wouldn't get used up quickly, so a lot of jars in their fridge had black mould around the hole in the lid and on the foods inside. I bought them a jar key.

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    1. I've just found them on the Internet! Yay!

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  9. Yes, a gadget is the way forward for you. There are lots available, I'm sure (I have one, my mother has a different one, there are probably a whole world of varied designs on Amazon).

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  10. One is called something about a boa constrictor, which I think is rather imaginative, though I don't know how I'd feel about having one in my kitchen drawer.

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    1. Brilliant! Can you imagine if you had dinner guests .... 'Oh, this lid's not coming off too easily. Could one of you just pop into the kitchen and fetch the boa constrictor out of the second drawer down on the left?'

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  11. I hate that moment when trying to escape a craft stall with the mumbling of, " I shall come back when I've been the whole way round "

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    1. I use exactly that excuse!!

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  12. Lakeland Plastics sell a nifty gadget that releases the vacuum with a most satisfying 'pop' .
    The old trick , of course , was wedging the lid in the hinge side of a door frame to hold it tight as you twisted . Ruined the frame but was free .

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    1. I think I actually remember my mum trying the door one!

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