In a Pickle

August 17, 2014

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I made one rule regarding pickles this year: only make as many pints and quarts of pickles as I have jars. In past years, I've gone to the store and bought cases and cases of new jars, but after 5 years of summer pickle sessions, I think there's enough in rotation (jars of pickles going out as gifts and empties being returned) that I shouldn't have to buy more. Especially during the pickling season when they're the most expensive. It's more fun that way. And cheaper!

I've also made another rule regarding my dill cucumbers: They must be whole! It seems like every time I make a jar of dill pickles where the cucumbers are cut in spears, the pickles get soggy and mushy. The flavor is good, but the texture leaves much to be desired. If I leave the cucumbers whole, however, with just the ends removed, they seem to retain a better, more crunchy texture.

Along with my vinegar brine'd dills, dilly beans and bread and butters, I'm experimenting with lacto-fermented dill pickles again. Last year's attempt at fermented dills went horribly awry, but I think that's because it was too hot, and because I was gone for most of the week they were sitting out on the counter. I've decided to give it another shot this year, though. The kitchen seems generally cooler, so it seems like they'll ferment at a steadier pace, and I'll be here to watch them in case something seems off.

Any pickling rules of thumb you'd like to share?

12 comments:

  1. I have the same rule about jars. What I would say is while spears do go mushy, thick slices are quite nice!

    The biggest difference is we don't do the water bath thing. Everything goes in the jar and then they go in the cupboard. I often wonder if we get away with not canning because generally it's colder here (so mould is less likely).

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    1. Yeah, I know lots of folks who skip the canning water bath. I think it must be a newer regulation or something.

      I'll have to try the thick slices! Thanks for the tip. :)

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  3. I am very interested in hearing how your lacto-fermentation goes this year and what vegetables you will use. I did a lot of canning when I lived on the farm but only lacto-fermented cucumbers and cabbage, and have not canned at all in these last years. I have advanced MS now and I follow Terry Wahls' paleo plan. She talks about lacto-fermentation and how it actually increases the nutrient value of the food. Do you have a crock with weights that you use? You mentioned Dilly Beans. My friend used to make the best dilled sugar snap peas using the same brine. They were incredible. I had forgotten about them. I just picked up The Nourished Kitchen to give me more ideas.

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    1. I don't yet have a crock. I've just been using a gallon-sized ball jar, and I submerge the vegetables under the brine with the help of a cabbage leaf. It's a little less effective than a crock I imagine, but it gets the job done until I can get around to making the purchase.

      Those dilled sugar snap peas sound delicious! I'll definitely have to try that.

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  4. I love to can and pickle! and dill pickles are my favorite. I think the secret is in the pickling recipe.

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    1. Yeah, I think so too. Do you have a favorite recipe?

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  5. Your pickles look so good! It will be lovely to have them in winter and think of your summer garden.

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    1. Yeah, it's always a lot of hard work in the summer, but I'm always grateful for them in the winter. We like to give them as Christmas gifts to all our family and friends too. :)

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  6. Yay for pickles! I look forward to your delicious 'gifts' every year :)

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  7. Your pickles look so good! Our cucumbers haven't been doing well in the last few years so I haven't had much chance to learn more about pickles. I know my Mom always had trouble keeping them crispy. Glad you found keeping them whole helps!

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  8. I havent' done ANY pickling this year because of our trip, but I do hope to make some fermented garlic and always, always kraut. These look lovely and good on for having some restraint, gal <3

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