In a Pickle
August 17, 2014
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?