I really love pickles, but it always took me a month after working there to be able to eat them again.
The worst job was sorting the cucumbers. They'd dump bins of cucumbers onto several conveyor belts and workers, on either side of the belt would sort out any that weren't the appropriate size or shape - depending on what they would be used for - and throw out the ucky looking cukes and any leaves or stems. The smell wasn't good, but I got used to it. The worst part was staring at a moving conveyor belt for hours at a stretch. When you looked up, you were a little dizzy and anything stationary you looked at appeared to be moving like the conveyor belt. Dumping glass (overturning boxes of glass jars at the start of the production belt to be filled with cucumbers, pickling spices and brine) wasn't bad once you got a rhythm going and adding the pickling spices wasn't too bad either.
|This is exactly like the thumb guards I wore.|
I think I might still have one, somewhere.
This was hard on the back and the thumbs. After I got used to it, I had thumbs of steel, but my back never acclimated. I also wore thumb guards under my gloves. As summer jobs went, it paid very well. I liked working swing because once the sun went down, the plant cooled off a little. The absolute best job was when you got to drive a fork lift. Whee!
|Just a hair short of a pound.|
|This was the last time my face got this close to the pan while cooking the brine. |
Vinegar fumes can knock you sideways. Opening a window or turning on your kitchen fan helps,
once the liquid starts to come to a boil.
RECIPE: PICKLED PEPPERS