Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

September 8, 2012

Making Pickles Ain’t Shit

Filed under: food, gardening — Tags: , , , — paragardener @ 11:46 pm

Pickling: a dark mystery lurking in deep shadows.
First of all, understand that grocery store pickles are all counterfeits. They are cucumbers dunked in vinegar and pickling spices, sealed in a jar. Real pickles ferment in anaerobic brine, like a creature that crawled up from a coastal swamp. The sour element is not vinegar, but lactic acid. Many folks have never tasted an actual pickle.
Making my own pickles was simple, and it makes me wonder why doing it is rare. I took my giantest plastic bowl and threw some full-sized cucumbers and green beans in there. I added water, salted to 3/4 Teaspoon per cup. All I had for spice was black pepper and garlic powder. Real garlic and fresh dill are much preferable. Then, a fistful of grape leaves, though a black tea teabag will work just fine.
I put a small bowl inside the big one and weighted it down with a glass to push the vegetables under the brine. Finally, a towel goes over all to protect from dust.
You can peek under the small bowl every few days, but you might as well wait a week or more at the start of the process. Scary molds will grow on thew surface of the brine, but you can scape ’em off with a serving spoon and compost them. Also, you may have to top up with new saltwater.
Viola, it’s pickles! Not the worst I’ve ever had, though the recipe certainly deserves some tweaking (thanks for the pickles, Mom). It only takes about as much work as assembling a salad. Man, making pickles ain’t shit!

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1 Comment »

  1. Yep, it’s really fun making pickles. We had just enough cucumbers to make a batch before downy mildew took down our crop. I don’t like buying cucumbers to make pickles because they are relatively expensive, and I view pickling as a way to preserve what can’t be eaten immediately. Next year try growing your own dill, and buy a horseradish root at the supermarket to cut into pieces and help flavor the brine. However, dill seeds will also work to impart that strong dill flavor. Does a tea bag really not flavor the brine? Guess I’ll have to try it myself and see. Oh, and now I have an idea for a Christmas gift: an honest-to-FSM old-fashioned crock!

    Comment by inanna — September 9, 2012 @ 11:30 am


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