Tag Archives: Cucumbers

Kosher Pickles

I had heard of kosher pickles many, many times in my life, but always assumed that they were just pickles that were, well, kosher, as in approved for consumption in Jewish dietary law. Turns out that is not the case, and kosher pickles are actually a particular style of pickle, one that is naturally fermented like those described in this post on lacto-pickles. If you are familiar with sauerkraut you are familiar with lactic acid fermentation. Anyways kosher pickles are the real-deal accompaniment to deli sandwiches like smoked meat or pastrami.

If you grew up on Bick’s, kosher pickles will seem strange. They have no sugar, in fact no sweetness at all besides whatever natural sweetness might be … Continue reading.

Relish – The Post-Pickle Blitz

Chopped vegetables, for piccalilliThe following post is either going to blow your mind or convince you that I’m stupid.

I don’t eat a lot of relish, but every now and then it goes well with charcuterie, or maybe a steamed wiener on a sweet white bun.  For the past few years I’ve been trying to make relish and other condiments like piccalilli by chopping up a bunch of vegetables and canning them with a sweet and sour pickling liquid.  I haven’t been entirely happy with the results.  Maybe I chopped the cucumbers too coarsely, and the condiment didn’t have the semi-fluid, spreadable consistency I was looking for.  Or perhaps, since the chopped vegetables have to be completely submerged in the pickling liquid for … Continue reading.

Dill Pickles

Little cucumbers from Tipi CreekI’m getting closer to my ideal dill pickle.  The quest was especially feverish this fall because I had a bit of Montreal-style smoked meat in my fridge.

Year by year I’ve been making my pickling liquid more and more acidic.  I like a sour pickle.  This year, I used straight vinegar, without diluting with water.  This might sound crazy, but it works.  The pickles are a bit too sour immediately after jarring, but let them hang out in the cellar for a month, and they’re prefect.  For me, anyways.

I’ve also been engineering the crunch-factor.  We all want a very crisp pickle.  This year I doused the fresh cucumbers with 5% of their weight in kosher salt, and let them … Continue reading.

Pickle Soup

Pickles!This is exactly the kind of delicious, hearty, ingenious, frugal dish I love. While finely chopped condiments like relish, piccalilli, and jam can be canned on their own, larger slices of vegetables like cucumbers, beets, and carrots require an acidic liquid in which to be preserved.  The liquid prevents the growth of aerobic pathogens by keeping air away from the vegetables and filling the space with acid, salt, and sugar.  Once the vegetables are gone, this delicious liquid can be used in a number of applications.

If this sounds at all gross to you, think about what is in dill pickle juice: water, garlic, black pepper, mustard seed, coriander, bay, cider vinegar, salt, and sugar.  The liquid has been cooked … Continue reading.

Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Naturally fermented dill picklesI come from a land of “refrigerator pickles”: cucumbers steeped in syrupy vinegar and spices, and stored in the fridge through the fall. There is another type of pickle called a lacto-fermented pickle.  The idea of producing an acidic pickle with only brine was a revelation.

There are two ways to apply the salt and control the salt concentration: either dry salt can be added directly to the ingredient, or the ingredient can be submerged in a brine.

Direct Salting.  This method is more common when the ingredient to be fermented has been sliced or chopped finely.  Sauerkraut is the most familiar example in the west.  For this method we typically add about 2% of the weight of the ingredient … Continue reading.