With mounds of maxixe still to be used in my fridge (yikes!), I've decided to try the centuries-old (at least I'd assume it's centuries old...) way of preserving things: pickling. Maxixe are kind of like Kirby cucumbers, so I scoured the web for ideas/suggestions. I found some Kosher dill pickle recipes that call for room temperature brining/fermentation (like the pickle barrel shops on the Lower East Side) and decided to experiment a bit. Hopefully I won't poison myself, but at the moment, it smells absolutely wonderful.
I wouldn't actually try this until I report back, but in the meantime, here's what I've done so far:
I thoroughly washed 6 maxixe, then cut them in quarters (like wedges). In the meantime I brought 1 1/2 tablespoons of sea salt to a boil in 1 quart of water (I shouldn't have listened to the website that said I could use it...I think it's why my brine is cloudy). Into a small sterilized jar I put about 1 teaspoon of herbes de Provence, 1 sprig of green peppercorns (from a Thai grocery--probably about a tablespoon of loose), and 1 smashed clove of garlic. I tightly packed the maxixe in the jar, then covered everything with the hot brine. According to the research I'd done, you need to make sure the vegetables stay completely submerged, so I popped a little shallow bowl on top, which seemed to do the trick.
You're supposed to leave them in a cool, dark place for 3 to 6 days, checking them each day to skim off whatever scum may appear at the top and add more brine if need be. So far, so good--I think I'll try a piece tomorrow (day 3) to see how they taste, then cover and put in the fridge.
They smell absolutely fabulous today, so at least, if nothing else, I'll have a pleasant aroma in my kitchen for the next 24 hours.
I'll be back with more...unless I die from food poisoning.