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This diary is the first installment in a series I am doing on pickling. There’s nothing like good old home-made pickles--nothing you can buy in the grocery store matches the stuff you can make yourself! In this series, I’ll show you how to make both quick and fermented pickles, and how to make pickled fruits and relishes. We’ll also talk a bit about pickling eggs and meats. When most people think about the word “pickles” they think of either dill or sweet pickles--but truthfully, you can pickle just about any fruit or vegetable.

When I was a kid growing up in eastern Kentucky, we used to make sauerkraut in a big earthenware crock every year. My mom would spend  hours chopping up heads of cabbage by hand, and then she would pack the kraut into the crock out in our pump house--a building my dad had built out of stone, which doubled as a sort of root cellar. When the kraut was ready, she would spend a day packing it into jars, and canning it outside on  a wood stove she used just for canning. I used to love eating that sauerkraut right out of the jar. Sometimes, she would make pickled corn or green beans, or a type of sauerkraut the people on my mom’s side of the family called “Hot Jack” that would make flames shoot out of your eyeballs and steam roll out of your ears. She would also make spiced peaches and apple chutney, which we often enjoyed around Christmas when family members from out of state would all come in to visit.

Pickling is an ancient art--some archaeologists believe pickling first began in Mesopotamia prior to 2400 BC, after which the practice spread around the world. Pickling was used to preserve a wide variety of foods, from vegetables, fruits and nuts, to meats and fish.  Around 4,000 years ago, people in India started making pickles out of cucumbers--the forerunner of the dill pickles we still love to eat today.  In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra once claimed eating pickled foods helped her maintain her beauty, while Aristotle claimed eating pickles held many health benefits.

Napoleon loved pickles so  much he offered a cash prize to anyone who could find a way to preserve them long-term so his troops could eat them while out in the field. A man named Nicholas Appert discovered that you could  lengthen the shelf life of pickles by processing them in sealed glass jars in a water bath canner. America got it’s name from pickle maker Amerigo Vespucci, a contemporary of Christopher Columbus. The Dutch can probably be credited with creating popularizing dill pickles in America. They brought recipes to the Pennsylvania Dutch colony  for relishes, chutneys, and a dish called chow-chow.

Even today, pickling is probably the most common method of  food preservation in the world. In Europe, dishes containing pickled carrots, beets, cabbage, and mushrooms are very common. Pickled herring is enjoyed during holidays like Christmas and Easter in Sweden. Pickled eggs and onions are commonly served in pubs in the UK.

In the Middle East, pickled cauliflower is often eaten with fresh hummus and pita bread. The dill pickles commonly made in Iraq are very similar to the ones we enjoy here in the US. An appetizer called “shipkah,” made from hot peppers, is commonly served in restaurants.

In India, oils are commonly used in some pickling recipes, with mango pickles being very popular. Seasonings such as citron, red chilli powder, garlic, and ginger are commonly used seasonings in Indian pickling recipes.  In Korea, a dish called kimchi, which contains pickled cabbage and radishes, is a staple food throughout eastern Asia. The Chinese pickle many kinds of fruits, vegetables and meats, using a brine made with salt and vinegars often made from rice or wheat. Watermelon is not generally eaten raw in China--it is usually pickled first.

In Japan, tsukemono are eaten at nearly every meal and are common as a snack. In the cookbook, A Taste of Japan, the author states that,  "It is said that in Japan there are four thousand different kinds of tsukemono and over one hundred different techniques for making them" If it’s possible to pickle something, the Japanese have probably found a way to do it--they are masters of the art of pickling. (I’ve been working on learning some Japanese pickling techniques myself.) Common pickling ingredients in tsukemono include miso, a type of fermented bean paste, sake, soy sauce, and rice bran.

Nearly any fruit, vegetable, or meat can be preserved by pickling. When you pickle something, you’re basically just soaking it in a brine solution (salt and water), often with the addition of an acidic ingredient-most commonly vinegar, in order to create conditions that inhibit the growth of microorganisms that can cause the food to spoil, and encourage the growth of organisms that produce the finished product’s taste. Sugar is often added to pickling recipes--not only because it gives the food a sweet taste, but also because sugar can have antimicrobial effects in some foods. When pickling fruits, sugar often replaces some or all of the salt used in the recipe. Spices such as garlic, cinnamon, or mustard seed also possess antimicrobial properties, and are very common in pickling spice recipes. The trick to successfully pickling something is to find a combination of brine, sugar, an acidifier, and spices that will produce a good tasting end product with a pH lower than 4.6--necessary to inhibit the growth of botulism spores.

There are several different techniques for making pickles. The quickest and easiest way is to simply make refrigerator pickles--these types of pickles don’t need to be canned. You can make them in any food-grade covered container you happen to have on hand, whether that’s a large covered bowl, a recycled glass jar from food you bought at the grocery store, or even a ziploc bag. If you’re using mason jars, you don’t necessarily need to sterilize them before you pickle in them, though you can if you want. All you have to do is just mix some vinegar and water with the pickling mix of your choice, heat it up, and pour it over your vegetables in the container you are going to use. Then, just cover it, allow it to cool to room temperature, and stick it in the fridge. Let it sit for at least 24 hours before you eat it--it’s best to wait at least a week. The only big drawbacks to making refrigerator pickles is that they must be kept in the fridge, and they won’t keep more than two or three months--however, you can freeze your refrigerator pickles and they will keep for up to six months. Refrigerator pickles are great if you want to be able to preserve small batches at a time. At the end of this diary, I’ll walk you through the process of making some refrigerator pickles.

Quick process pickles are a lot like making refrigerator pickles--the only difference is that you will need to use canning jars and lids to make these. The jars, lids, and rings will need to be sterilized.  In general, the vegetables are packed in the jars raw, and the pickling mixture is poured over them. Then you put on the lids and rings and process them in a water bath canner. (If you need information on how to use a water bath canner, see the diary I recently wrote on using a water bath canner--or use one of the many resources available online or in canning books.)  Once you are done processing the jars, you will need to let the pickles sit for about two weeks before they will be ready to eat.

Fermenting is the time-honored method of pickling. It is also the most time consuming, but often produces results you can’t get using the quick process method. It is also the best method to use if you are going to be making large batches.  Fermented pickles are usually made in an earthenware crock--though you can also use glass jars, or even a food grade plastic bucket in a pinch. You can sometimes get food grade buckets for free if you ask around at some of your local restaurants.  Just wash the bucket thoroughly before you use it--in order to remove the “pickle” smell fill it with water, and add a little bit of bleach. Let it soak for a few days, then dump out the bleach water and rinse it out. Let the bucket air out a few days before you use it--until the bleach smell is gone. When making fermented pickles, you simply pack the food in the container you are going to use, then cover it with the brine solution. Cover the container with a few layers of cheesecloth or a piece of clean, white cotton. Top the fabric with a plate that is slightly smaller in diameter than the container you are using, then weight it down with some jars filled with water or even some clean rocks. The food should be submerged by at least a few inches. Place the crock in a cool place--if the area where the crock sits gets too warm, it will make the food go soft. Every day or so, you will need to skim off the brine that rises to the top, and will need to remove any food that looks like it might be trying to spoil--since this could cause the whole batch to go bad. When you start seeing bubbles, you know the food you are pickling is starting to ferment--when the bubbles stop, it’s done. This can take up to about three weeks for most recipes. Then, you can either store the finished product in the crock if you will be using all of it relatively soon, or pack it in jars and process it in a canner for longer storage.

Pickling fruits is much like pickling vegetables--the only difference is that you usually use sugar, instead of salt in these pickling recipes. Relishes and chutneys have chopped fruits and/or vegetables, and are often heavily spiced.

The type of vinegar you choose to use in your pickling recipes will have a definite effect on how the finished product tastes. Plain old white vinegar is best for things like pickled green beans--while cider vinegar imparts a somewhat fruity flavor to the finished product. Note that the level of acidity can vary between different types of vinegar--you will want to make sure that with any pickling recipe, you are using the proper ratio of acid, salt, water and sugar. Canning, pickling, or kosher salt are the best types for pickling, but you can also use plain old non-iodized table salt. Plain table salt, however, will make the pickles look a little cloudy, but it doesn’t hurt them in terms of food safety. Some people like to use sea salt in their pickling recipes. Alum can be added to cucumber pickles to make them more crunchy--though it is not necessary. If you can get them, a few grape leaves in the bottom of each jar will also make your pickles crunchier. Another method of making “crunchy” pickles is to use a low-temperature pasteurization treatment--something I’ll cover as the series goes on.

Another thing to consider when pickling is the type of cooking utensils you are using. Most pickling recipes require you to bring the brine mixture to a boil--if you boil the mixture in a metal pot, it will cause the pickles to turn cloudy. Use an enamel, glass, or Teflon coated saucepan for this purpose.

Now, I’m going to walk you through the process of making a batch of refrigerator dill pickles. To make these pickles, you will need a quart sized jar with a lid. It doesn’t need to be a canning jar--it can be any food-grade jar, including a recycled pickle jar from the store. You can also use a large covered bowl or casserole dish if you don’t have a jar handy. You will also need:

1-½ lbs. pickling cucumbers
¾ cup white vinegar, 5% acidity
¾ cup water
2 tsp. pickling salt
2 tsp. dill seed, or a few fronds of dill leaves (a whole head will be too much for just 1 quart jar)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
Few red pepper flakes (optional)

Cut off the ends of the pickling cucumbers, and cut them into the desired shape--you can leave them whole if they are very small, cut them into spears, or slice them. I think my pickles turn out a little better if they are blanched for a minute or so--heat some water to boiling in a saucepan, and dip the cucumbers in the water for a minute or so. Combine the dill, garlic, and red pepper (if desired), and put this in the bottom of the jar. Pack the cucumbers into the jar and set aside. In another saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if desired) to a boil. Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and put the lid on the jar. Let the pickles cool to room temperature, then put them in the fridge. You can try them the next morning, but they taste best after about a week. These pickles will keep for as long as 2 or 3 months, as long as they remain refrigerated--or you can freeze these for up to six months.

Pickled carrots are also very easy to make in the fridge--and they make a good snack when you want something sweet, but need to stay away from the cookies and candy! Although many recipes for pickled carrots call for plain sugar, I like the taste honey imparts to them. You’ll need a quart jar with a lid, just like in the recipe above, or you can use any quart sized covered container. You will also need:

1 lb. of carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 cup cider vinegar
1-¼ cups water
¼ cup honey
1-½ tbsp. pickling salt

Blanch the carrots for one minute in boiling water. Pack the carrots into the jar you are going to use. Bring the vinegar, water, honey, and salt to a boil. Pour this mixture over the carrots, and put on the lid. Allow the pickled carrots to cool to room temperature, then put them in the fridge. Wait at least 24 hours before you eat them.  This recipe will keep for up to two months in the refrigerator, but they never last that long around here…

Next time, I’ll show you how to make quick processed pickles--these will keep longer than refrigerator pickles--though they require a bit more work. There are many good sources of pickling recipes, both online and in a number of books on food preservation.  The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a good online source.

Originally posted to Practical Survivalism and Sustainable Living on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 03:38 PM PST.

Also republished by Urban Homesteading, Community Spotlight, and Toolbox.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We Came on a Refrigerator Pickle Recipe Early Last (13+ / 0-)

    yr very similar to this, and have made a number of batches. Digestive problems rendered me unable to eat any vegetables for a while so we ended giving away most of our stache this summer. Everyone loved them.

    We were using quart jars and felt the recipe was short on garlic, so I settled on 2 garlic-press-loads per jar, crushing them in the jar. We used garden cukes, garden garlic, garden dill among the other spices.

    Everyone should try this, it's quite straightforward.

    Reminds me that I'm feeling ready for another batch!

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 03:48:54 PM PST

  •  What a cool diary. (14+ / 0-)

    I had no idea pickling was such an old practice. What a great bit of history.

    And I just love pickled food. Pickled onions? About the most heavenly thing on the planet.

  •  I like the half-gallon mason jars for these (15+ / 0-)

    In the summer, when my pickling cukes are going strong, I like to make refrigerator dills in the larger jars.  They're easier to pack, and we go through them.  The recipe I use is pretty similar, and comes from one of our local restauranteurs in Portland, Greg Higgins, who serves several kinds of his homemade pickles at his restaurant:

    1 quart cider vinegar
    1 quart water

    ¼ cup pickling spices
    2 chipotle peppers (dried)
    15 whole garlic cloves, peeled
    scant ½ cup kosher salt
    scant ¼ cup sugar
    ½ tsp ground turmeric
    1 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
    4 quarts pickling cucumbers (rinsed well)
    2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced slightly less than ½-inch thick

    In a nonreactive pot, bring vinegar, water, pickling spices, peppers, garlic, salt, sugar, turmeric and dill to a boil. Add cucumbers and onions, turn heat to medium low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and transfer brine and vegetables to a clean, sanitized pickle crock or other one-gallon jar. Loosely cover and allow to cool to room temperature, then tighten lid and refrigerate. The pickles will be ready to eat in 3-4 days and will keep up to 8 weeks.

    "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

    by Keith930 on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 04:14:03 PM PST

  •  Jalapenos en Escabeche (15+ / 0-)

    Here's a recipe that I use to make my own pickled jalapenos.  These aren't processed either, but you do have to soak them in a brine for a few days before putting them up in jars.

    Chiles Jalapenos En Escabeche

    1 Pound Jalapeno Peppers
    3 Cups Vinegar
    2 Whole Cloves
    1/4 Tsp Oregano
    1 Small Cinnamon Stick -- piece
    1/4 Tsp Ginger
    1/2 Cup Oil
    1 Medium Onion
    8 Ounces Carrots -- sliced
    1 Head Garlic -- Cloves Separated And Peeled
    4 Bay Leaves

    Wash chiles and cut stems so they are no longer than 1/4 inch. Cut a slit in each chile and place in bring made by dissolving 2 tbs salt in 3 cups water. Let chiles stand in brine for 4 or 5 days and change brine two or three times a day. On final day, drain chiles and rinse. Combine vinegar, cloves, oregano, thyme, cinnamon stick and vinegar and boil until even in color, about 10 minutes.

    Heat oil, add onions, carrots, garlic cloves and bay leaves and cook until onion and carrots are tender. In a hot, sterilized 1-quart jar, make layers of onion mixture and chiles until jar is filled, starting and ending with onion mixture. Add boiling vinegar to cover and seal. Let stand in a cool place at least 2 weeks before using to let flavors blend.

    "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

    by Keith930 on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 04:23:25 PM PST

  •  yum! thank you (6+ / 0-)

    your recipe sounds great and I will be trying it soon!

    A local gourmet pub has house-made pickles that inspired me to try making some. They do pea pods, cauliflower, and real baby carrots (whole 2.5" infant carrots with green tops, not the machined "baby" carrots supermarkets have). I tried this recipe, which has too much sugar and too much vinegar.

    I also love kimchi, but doubt I'll make my own. There are lots of Koreans here, and at least 3 nearby markets where I can find several varieties of house-made  kimchi. The chain supermarket sells a pint jar for 3.99; at the Korean markets a half gallon of better product is 6.99.

    "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

    by esquimaux on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 04:30:14 PM PST

  •  My preferred recipe (8+ / 0-)

    is 1 quart of Gin, a tad of vermouth, and a bucket of ice.

  •  I love diaries like this! (10+ / 0-)

    This reminds me of the good old Whole Earth Catalog, which I used to read religiously.

    My wife and I are going to try some of the recipes here, especially the one for pickled onions.

    Great job!

    "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

    by Timaeus on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 04:50:37 PM PST

  •  Just ate some of my wife's pickles with supper (8+ / 0-)

    She put up 45 quarts this summer.  

    The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats

    by deepsouthdoug on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 04:56:35 PM PST

  •  Sauerkruat (14+ / 0-)

    5 lbs cabbage shredded. 3 Tbls. Salt

    I would link to the Ohio Extension service for their canning guidelines. Except, they are gone. Maybe, Kasich did want people processing their own food.





    An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second..Jefferson's Letter to Peter Carr

    by JugOPunch on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 05:35:59 PM PST

  •  Please do a diary on Kim Chee (8+ / 0-)

    I love the stuff, and am very interested in what I have heard is involved in preparing it.

  •  Gonna have to talk to mom. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, FarWestGirl, commonmass

    My mom canned hundreds if not thousands of quarts of everything every year.

    One of my favorite recipes was a sweet concoction which included mostly cabbage and some diced bell peppers.  (It's the only time I've ever enjoyed eating peppers.)

    I doubt it was sauerkraut in any form, as the last time I touched that I didn't even swallow before I barfed.

    I wonder what her recipe was.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 10:32:54 PM PST

  •  My aunt used to make watermelon pickles, long ago. (4+ / 0-)

    I miss those.

  •  Why is a round stone called for (6+ / 0-)

    in some pickling recipes?  I remember my grandmother putting a small round stone in the pickling brine jar for the dill pickles.

    I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Norwegian Chef on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 11:21:38 PM PST

    •  That is a very interesting question. I had never (4+ / 0-)

      heard of putting a stone down in the pickling jar until you mentioned it, and a google search turned up nothing.

      There is a great deal of folklore surrounding pickling, however. One old wive's tale claims that if a woman makes pickles when she is on her period, the food will spoil. In old world Germany, a pickle was hung on the Christmas tree--it was said to bring good luck to the child who found it.


      •  Pickled corn and Periods? (6+ / 0-)

        I watched a segment of The Housewives of New Jersey, and Theresa and her family were processing tomatoes for pasta sauce.  Theresa's father asked the large group of women there if any of them were having their monthly, and opined that if they were, they shouldn't touch the tomatoes.  You could have dropped a pin the silence was so loud.

        I have a 1909 recipe from my grandmother for pickled corn that includes cabbage, corn, onions and green peppers that is delicious, if anyone might be interested.

        •  Corn relish--I would love to see that recipe. I (7+ / 0-)

          collect those kinds of recipes.

          There are a lot of old wive's tales involving women's periods. I've heard people claim a woman shouldn't milk a cow when she's on her period because they believe it will make the milk go sour. Just the other day, an elderly lady told me a woman on her period can't get around horses or other livestock because it will supposedly "spook them." I was raised around all kinds of livestock, and never observed such a thing--but it was impossible to convince her otherwise.

          •  I will make sure you get the recipe (4+ / 0-)

            Old time pickling recipes are more sophisticated than many modern recipes, I've discovered, due to the principle of not wasting anything, hence the cabbage in the pickled corn.

          •  It can rile up a stud horse but anyone with a stud (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tonyahky, commonmass

            should already know how to handle a slightly deranged horse or they shouldn't have a stud......

            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
            Emiliano Zapata

            by buddabelly on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:50:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We had an old stud horse one time--I don't know (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buddabelly, commonmass

              that being around any of us ladies at that time of the month made him any worse--he was just hateful all the time. We ended up selling him.

              •  studs can be nasty, my last stud horse was a huge (4+ / 0-)

                Thoroughbred that hated everyone but me.  He escaped a couple weeks after my last back surgery and everyone else was too scared of him to go get him so I had to....He reared up and came down on my shoulder....damn that hurt......

                My stud donkey was absolutely opposite, always sweet always gentle, even when his partner was in season.....

                Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                Emiliano Zapata

                by buddabelly on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:57:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I've never noticed any changes, and since humans (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tonyahky, commonmass, buddabelly

              have menstruation rather that estrus, I'm pretty sure the pheromones are different. And since temperament is a heritable trait, if a stud can't learn manners, he shouldn't still have balls. There's no way that they'll all be sweet, easy and quiet, but they damn sure should be handleable, at least by competent professionals. The (Thoroughbred) racehorse people will argue with you, but for any other breed, if they don't have manners, they shouldn't be bred and pass on the temperament. I say that as someone who's been around breeding stallions of multiple breeds since 1976 and still owns two. Most American stallions ought to be geldings, there's too much ego and too little good sense in the American horse industry.

              Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

              by FarWestGirl on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 01:15:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'll agree there, the best I've ever seen for (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tonyahky, FarWestGirl

                complete control of their stallions is the Caballeros who ride the dancing horses.....It's a "Macho" thing to ride a stud of course but those guys have their boys in ck and amazingly comes naturally to some horses of course, it must to see them follow a beat while the rider shows not a move, and the ladies doing the same side saddle? aye cabrone that's some riding......Plus the animals themselves are in just beautiful condition.....I've watched some of them live in a little tiny trailer or block hut so the horses can have the good stuff and literally just like some of the rodeo guys, the horses live in the home with them.

                I agree that most of the so called "stud" grade stallions should be cut if for no other reason than there's more horses out there now than the market can bear at current feed costs...I see them abandoned all the time out here unfortunately....there's another pair up for auction just from my little neighborhood this week.  

                My friend has spent most of her life breeding and selling high quality good bloodline Quarter Horses for both racing and cow work....Now? not only can't she sell the babies, she can't sell her breeding stock....hell she can't give them away at this point and with Bermuda hay at 20 bucks a bale and Alfalfa not much cheaper.  

                Who, in this economy but the rich can afford that....

                Equine ownership, always kind of a upper class, but still attainable dream,  is being priced out of the market for the middle class.  Sad but also true.  What was, with just some sacrifice,  available is now beyond reach due to feed costs, and they keep going up as I'm sure you know....

                Save and freeze the semen if it's an important blood line, we know well how to do it....start to breed again when the energy costs return to a semi affordable level and they get the speculators out of the commodities markets.....just that would cut feed costs by a third imo.....Maybe I could recover costs on my hens again if they ever do and I could start breeding again....

                Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                Emiliano Zapata

                by buddabelly on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 02:42:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  If I was breeding $100K horses I wouldn't be able (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tonyahky, buddabelly, terabytes

                  to keep them in stock, but the $5K-$20K babies literally can't be given away at this point. Bred one last year, the first in 4 years, because it was a special order that hit the ground with a home.

                  Yeah, you can freeze the stallions pretty easily, (if they freeze well, not all stallions do), but the mares with the best bloodlines are getting past being able to carry and freezing embryos is a lot trickier and more expensive than just semen and the mare lines are actually more important that the sirelines to preserve.

                  Middle income and working class involvement with horses is on the verge of dying out thanks to the goddamn Republicans and neocons destroying the economy. Hundreds of years of irreplaceable selective breeding about to be wiped out because those greedy bastards wanted their bigger damned casino. GRRRRrrr

                  Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

                  by FarWestGirl on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 03:08:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I wonder if these old wife's tales had (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            something to do with letting a woman rest during her period. Since a simple demand for rest would not necessarily be honored in patriarchal societies, you would develop these stories about how cooking and being around livestock is harmful to the ingredients and animals, not the woman herself--a taboo to actually ensure rest.

            It's *Gandhi*, not Ghandi

            by poco on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 03:17:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  My grandfather used to tell grandma to stay out (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tonyahky, JFinNe, FarWestGirl, commonmass

          of his garden when she was having her period...he believed it could give some plants "the blight."

          "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

          by Keith930 on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:05:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The stone holds eveything under the brine (4+ / 0-)

      To keep whatever you're pickling under the brine as it pickles, if you're pickling in canning jars, you find a round stone just a little smaller in diameter than the neck of the jar, wash and boil it, then use it to hold down the pickles.

      •  I know about using a stone on the top to hold (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, commonmass

        the food down into the brine--we used to have a big piece of marble we used for that purpose in our crocks. I've never heard of someone putting a small round stone down in the jar, though. Maybe Norwegian Chef meant a stone is laid on top of the jar?

        •  The stone was used to weigh down (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tonyahky, FarWestGirl, commonmass

          the plate set on top of the kraut- to keep every morsel covered with brine to prevent spoilage..

          Never heard of a stone actually placed into the crock.

          My grandmother made all kinds of pickles- watermelon rind, pickalilli, and cucumber.

          None of her children ever took up gardening or putting food by but all of us grandchildren from my mothers side of the family  did it all.

          The Blue Book is available at most supermarkets and is a stress-free introduction into preserving.

        •  Marble is alkaline, it might be altering the pH of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tonyahky, commonmass

          your pickles when it comes in contact with the acidic brine. Probably not enough to make a significant difference, I suppose.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

          by FarWestGirl on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 01:18:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Suitable for covering kraut? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, FarWestGirl, commonmass

      Cabbage and other foods tend to float which exposes them to air (not desired). A weighted cover of some sort is used to submerge the food, but must be loose enough to allow gasses to escape. If you can find a round, flat stone nearly  the diameter of the crock, that would be ideal, but more often a loose wooden lid is used and weighted with a rock or such (but which wouldn't have to be round as far as I can see).

      Putting a stone in the brine with the food sounds like it's for good luck, purity or some such, unless it were some kind of special mineral. I think anything with iron in it would taste bad.

      Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
      I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

      by Leo in NJ on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 08:59:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, great diary! (4+ / 0-)

    One thing I've always wondered: If pickling is so ancient, why do we now have to sterilize or use the refrigerator? Or is the fermented method the way around that?

    I prefer to cook as un-plugged as possible.

    Lamentablemente, por ahora, los objetivos que nos planteamos no fueron logrados en la ciudad capital. - Hugo Chávez, 1992

    by Anak on Sat Dec 10, 2011 at 11:34:04 PM PST

    •  Fermenting was the way foods were pickled before (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anak, DawnN, FarWestGirl, commonmass, esquimaux

      canning or refrigeration came along. Canning and refrigerating merely prolongs the shelf life of pickled foods. In some instances, pickles made by the refrigerator method don't have enough acid to inhibit the growth of botulism in the food if it is left at room temperature. Fermenting, therefore, is a more exacting method than either canning or refrigerating.

    •  Pickling, fermenting, smoking and drying were (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, commonmass, Anak

      the original methods of food preservation. Youghurt and cheese, (enzymes & microbial cultures) were the only ways to preserve milk. They've become much safer as we've learned how to separate the beneficial microbes and cultures and suppress the pathogenic ones. There used to be a lot more food poisonings when open cultures were used.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 01:25:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A question and history lesson (6+ / 0-)
    The question:

    Is it possible to pickle cucumbers without seeds and skin?


    History lesson:  

    America got it’s name from pickle maker Amerigo Vespucci, who sailed with Christopher Columbus.

    Perhaps better wording or an error?  The two men never sailed "with" each other.  They at least knew of each other but never set sail together. Their expeditions were financed by two different monarchs with different interests in the new world.  Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag and Vespucci sailed under the Portuguese.

    that is all from the history police  :-)

    Got Books? ........ Need computer cables?

    by sweettp2063 on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 03:32:37 AM PST

    •  If you don't like the seeds, just use baby (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl, commonmass

      cucumbers when you pickle them. I have never tried to make cucumber pickles without the skin, but I don't see why you couldn't.

      You're right about the history thing--I found a source that listed him as having sailed "with" Christopher Columbus--but after some further investigation, I found several sources that list him as an explorer on separate voyages. I'm going to edit the text to simply call him a "contemporary" of Christopher Columbus for this reason. But there were also other accounts of voyages he took that are in dispute among historians--and there was a great deal of controversy about the fact that America was named after him at all. All very fascinating stuff. It seems that there were historical attempts to credit him with more than he actually did.

    •  Cukes for pickling and cukes for salads (4+ / 0-)

      are not the same.  Pickling cukes have few seeds and thinner skins, and of course, should be bought/picked when small, then can be pickled whole or in chunks or slices.

    •  Vespucci was rattling around Italy at the time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, sweettp2063

      He helped outfit Columbus' voyages as a ship chandler.  And, apparently went with one of Columbus's captains to South America, to the mouth of the Amazon, and several others there.

      Letters he wrote were around in 1504 and he's likely the first one to use the term New World.   He was more famous than Columbus around that time.

      A few years later when it was still thought this was part of the far east, Ptolemy labeled north and south America, Amerigo in honor of Vespucci.

      Not a feat of scholarship---i just ran across a book called
      Don't Know Much About History and saw the story as I was looking for something else.

      I had always kinda wondered.

      Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 01:15:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ptolemy? Not so much... (3+ / 0-)

        That's off by a couple of thousand years. MapmakerClaudius Ptolemaeuslived in Egypt from c. AD 90 – c. AD 168.

        Here's the scoop on Amiricus from Wikipedia:

        It was the publication and widespread circulation of [Vespucci's] letters that might have led Martin Waldseemüller to name the new continent America on his world map of 1507 in Lorraine. Vespucci used a Latinised form of his name, Americus Vespucius, in his Latin writings, which Waldseemüller used as a base for the new name... The book accompanying the map stated: "I do not see what right any one would have to object to calling this part, after Americus who discovered it and who is a man of intelligence, Amerige, that is, the Land of Americus, or America: since both Europa and Asia got their names from women".

        After making four voyages and covering much of South America, Vespucci was made chief of navigation of Spain.

  •  Finding cukes... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, semiot, FarWestGirl, esquimaux

    I have been making home made pickles for a few years now.
    I find it is easier for me to make a gallon of pickles at a time in a one gallon glass jar.  Over the years the lids have rusted out so I tend to use the sealable plastic wrap to cover the to top of the jar and secure with rubber works for me.  You just have to leave the jar alone for at least a month in a cool sunless place.

    When I used to go to farmers market in TX (I live in Ava, Mo. now) I'd buy 16 small cukes at a time at around $.75/lb. And by small I mean a little bigger than thumb size.   The part about the vinegar is soo correct...I tend to buy Heinz and don't look at the price but cheaper vinegar....ugh the taste is off.  The cider vinegar plus maple syrup I use for bread and butter pickles which I store pickles in a container for making juice in fridge.

    I see lots of ingredient packets in the stores but I like to buy the pickling spices separately and measure my own....still can't find "fenugreek" (sp)  The recipes on the net sometimes do not break down exactly what spices are in the packets....

    I will very much try to grow cukes this year as we have moved from TX to Mo. in April and built a time for growing anything and summer was a 100 degree daily ordeal.  I haven't found a store selling small cukes for pickling as yet and I am certain to pay more than $.75/lb.

    I also chill cukes in fridge instead of soaking overnite in cold water...,much faster.

    •  I bought a 25 lb bag of cukes at a farm stand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, salmo, FarWestGirl

      a couple of years ago for $10.  25 lbs isn't as much as it sounds like one you start canning.  If you live where there are farm stands, that's a good way to go.  Also, you can call up a couple of produce sellers in your city to inquire about buying in bulk like that.  I think 25 lbs is the smallest unit for wholesale.

      "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

      by Keith930 on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:10:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have dill weed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, semiot, FarWestGirl

    Can I use this in place of dill seed or are they one in the same?

    Peace. Love. Weed. Poontang.

    by PlanetTreasures on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 05:39:44 AM PST

  •  I love to make and eat pickled celery. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, Leo in NJ, esquimaux, DawnN

    Great snack by it self, and also good chopped in salads.

    Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

    by semiot on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:24:27 AM PST

    •  recipe? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, semiot

      I love celery and want to try this.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 09:40:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pickled Celery (6+ / 0-)

        4 large heads of celery
        4 jalapeno peppers
        1 red bell pepper
        7 cloves garlic
        7 tsp dried dill weed (or equivalent fresh)
        7 tsp whole black peppercorns
        1 quart vinegar (white, apple cider, or other)
        2 quarts water
        1/2 cup pickling salt

        Wash and sterilize 7 wide-mouth quart canning jars. Wash lids and rings, and leave in a bowl of warm soapy water until needed.

        Combine vinegar, water and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer low until needed.

        Trim the celery heads both ends, wash thoroughly, then cut in two - the idea is to get the stalks just long enough to fit into the quart jars with an inch of head space.

        Remove stem and slice in half the jalapeno peppers. Cap and seed the red bell pepper and cut into 7 strips.

        Pack 7 hot jars each with celery, 1/2 jalapeno, a red bell pepper strip, a clove of garlic, a tsp peppercorn, a tsp dill. Fill jars with hot brine, leaving ~3/4 inch of head room.

        Rinse lids and rings and place on jars. Process jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

        Best if left to pickle for a few weeks. Will keep for a year.

        Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

        by semiot on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 10:38:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kim Chi is my favorite! (5+ / 0-)

    Of course, there are hundreds of kinds of Kim Chi so I will say the most common one (spicy and garlicky cabbage) is my favorite.
    But when it comes to pickles, Koreans have it over almost any other culture. They have pickles at every meal and sometimes many kinds of pickles at one meal. And they are all amazing.
    Further, while you do need to process most pickles to store them, Kim chi is stored in crocks and never processed. As a matter of fact, they now have refrigerators you can buy that are devoted solely to keeping kim chi fresh in the home. And I have to say, what is great about pickles, what is good for you, is the fermentation. Process them and you lose that. They're still flavorful, but you don't get the healthy bacteria and such. it's one of the reasons Koreans are some of the healthiest people around and why they haven't been as affected by the likes of bird flu and SARS as other Asian nations were.

    So process if yo must, but try eating as many fermented pickles as you can.
    Of course, there are other fermented foods, like cheese, yogurt, coffee, tea, beer, wine, that are also good for you. Gotta love nature!

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by MA Liberal on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 06:25:02 AM PST

    •  The bacteria that cause the fermentation process (4+ / 0-)

      add a lot of B vitamins to the food. A lot of people keep mentioning Kim Chi--I will probably try to include a recipe in this series.

      •  I had the privilege of visiting Korea (4+ / 0-)

        for the 1988 Olympics in 1988. There I fell in love with Korean food - the BBQ, bi bim bap, tripe stew, spicy squid and, of course, kim chi!
        Returning home (NYC) I looked for places to buy it and found "Korea Town" down in the 30's of Manhattan, not fat from herald Square. There were Korean restaurants and a great Korean market. they had superb kim chi in the fresh cooler as well as many jars of varying sizes. I was in heaven!
        Moving back to my hometown in Beverly, MA there wasn't Korean food to be found. Occasionally I could find jars of kim chi in the fresh produce section but that was it.
        so I learned to make my own. Ingredients were/are not always easy to find, but I did my best.
        Then...HMart opened in Burlington, MA! Fresh kim chi once again! Not to mention every variety of veggies and prepared foods, frozen, etc. All sorts of things were there that regular groceries just didn't carry.
        Suffice it to say, I am a kim chi hound, a 5 pound container of the stuff in my fridge as we speak.
        Finally, if you can find the Kim Chi Chronicles through your local PBS station, check it out. Good show by a Korean American (father a black serviceman during Korean War) who found her roots and brings the wonders of the Korean table to TV.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by MA Liberal on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 11:18:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And the wonders of kim chi (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tonyahky, DawnN, FarWestGirl

        go beyond taste...

        The idea that [kim shi] could help poultry to fight off bird flu sounds like a dubious folk remedy.

        But the theory is being floated by some of Korea's most eminent scientists.

        "We found that the chickens recovered from bird flu, Newcastle disease and bronchitis. The birds' death rate fell, they were livelier and their stools became normal," said Professor Kang Sa-ouk.

        Article here.


        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by MA Liberal on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 11:20:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The BEST refrigerator pickle recipe! (5+ / 0-)

    Refrigerator Cucumber Pickles

    These pickles will keep all year in the fridge, and hold their texture best for long storage when made with small whole cukes - about 3" - 4" long.  If you have mixed sizes, segregate the cukes so the spears are separate from the whole small cukes, and eat the spears first because they don't hold their texture as well.

    Place a large dill head at the bottom of a half-gallon jar, or one small dill head each in two quart jars.  Wash the cukes and trim about 1/4" from each end.  Pack the jar with whole little cukes however they fit in best, or use larger cukes sliced the long way into spears, and as you go add the cloves of half a large garlic head, sliced, more if you want.  I generally use a whole garlic bulb for every half-gallon of pickles.  You can also add any of the following: thin sliced onion, sliced sweet green peppers (use them before they fully mature because once they change color to red/yellow/whatever they'll get mushy in storage), or sliced hot peppers: two hot unseeded jalapeños make for a fairly piquanté batch.

    Mix up your brine separately in a quart jar: three tablespoons of pickling salt, two cups of cider vinegar, two cups of water.  Shake until the salt has dissolved and pour over your half-gallon of cukes, it should come out just right.  Let the cukes sit out at room temperature for 24 hours, then eat or refrigerate.  As you eat the cukes you can also eat the peppers, garlic, and onions, or put them in sandwiches or burritos.  If you're into the really hot stuff you can put in one or two habanero peppers, pricked with a tooth-pick or other implement to poke it full of holes.

    This brine will pickle any vegetable so make whatever kind of pickle you want with it, including pickled onions, garlic, sweet or hot peppers, carrots, cauliflower, etc.  As noted above, fully mature sweet peppers lose their texture quickly, so use immature peppers, or eat them quickly.

    •  A lot of those refrigerator pickle recipes will (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo in NJ, DawnN, FarWestGirl, commonmass

      actually keep a lot longer than the experts tell us they are supposed to. I made a batch of refrigerator sauerkraut one time that was still good over a year later! I just follow my nose, and look for signs of spoilage. But for the purposes of these diaries, I'm putting in the expert recommendations when it comes to that sort of thing--even though those of us who have done a lot of pickling know better.

      BTW, folks--deb s's brine recipe is a perfect example of the proper ratio of salt, water, and acid, which is why that pickle recipe will keep for so long.

  •  Easy fresh sauerkraut (7+ / 0-)

    I just learned how to make it this summer, and I've been enjoying fresh sauerkraut ever since.  Here are the instructions I sent to a friend after I'd made a few successful batches.

    You are mixing this up by the weight of the cabbage.  Use 5 pounds of cored cabbage (weigh it after you core it) to 3 tablespoons pickling salt.  Slice it as thin and as uniform as you possibly can.  This is important for good results.

    Mix the sliced cabbage with the salt in a very big bowl to distribute the salt well, and let it sit for maybe 5 minutes, which should be all it takes for the cabbage to start making its own brine.  Pack it into jars as tightly as you can, and as you pack it in you'll see the brine really start to flow.  By the time you finish packing the jar the cabbage should be completely covered in its own brine.  5 pounds of cabbage fills two quart jars and a pint jar.  Whatever brine remains in the bottom of your mixing bowl should be distributed between the jars to evenly distribute the salt in that brine.

    Put it on the counter in a container to catch the brine overflow, with the cabbage weighted down with a (scrubbed and boiled) rock to keep it under the brine.  The rock should be just barely narrower than the neck of the jar, to keep all the cabbage under the brine.  The rock should be low enough that you can also put a lid on the jar, screwed down but loose enough to let out the carbon dioxide and overflow.  Save the overflow brine in the fridge to add back in later.

    Protect the jar from light - I overturn a brown paper bag over everything, and write the date on it in magic marker.  Check daily, after a couple of days you should see it starting to ferment - lots of little bubbles.  If you get a yeast bloom (what all the books call "scum") on the top, just skim off the yeast and discard it.

    Your sauerkraut should be "done" in 7 days, you can taste-test to see.  It should be crunchy and fresh-tasting, and smell good.  Take out the rock, refrigerate the kraut, add the saved brine back in after it's chilled (for some reason it really absorbs the brine after you refrigerate it).  It'll improve in the fridge for several weeks at least.

  •  Kosher Dills, with no vinegar (6+ / 0-)

    This is how my wife makes her pickles.  This recipe is from "Jewish Home Cooking", by Arthur Schwartz:

    4 quarts (scant 4l) water
    6 tablespoons coarse white salt (kosher, if available)
    18-20 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, scrubbed
    8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly-crushed
    2 tablespoons pickling spice (see links below)
    6 bay leaves
    1 large bunch of dill, preferably going to seed, washed

    1. In a large pot, bring 1 qt (1l) water to a boil with the salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the remaining water.

    2. Prepare three 1 quart wide jars by running them through the dishwasher or filling them with boiling water, then dumping it out.

    3. Pack the cucumbers vertically into the jars, making sure they’re tightly-packed. As you fill the jars, divide the garlic, spices, bay leaves, and dill amongst them.

    4. Fill the jars with brine so that the cucumbers are completely covered. Cover the jars with cheesecloth, secured with rubber bands, or loosely with the lids. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 days.

    5. After 3 days, taste one. The pickles can ferment from 3 to 6 days. The longer the fermentation, the more sour they’ll become. Once the pickles are to your liking, refrigerate them.

    "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:28:24 AM PST

  •  This diary is definatly getting bookmarked! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, esquimaux, DawnN, FarWestGirl

    and I look forward to reading the entire series.  

    I love pickles, and for me chopping is one of the most pleasurable and relaxing activities imaginable!  I have always shied away from pickle-making because the whole hot water bath thing kind of intimidates me, but refrigerator pickles would be right up my ally.  

    I do like to make quick Japanese salted pickles--easy easy easy and oh so rewarding in the summertime!

  •  Can you pickle a raw turkey ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, DawnN

    Yes, and I couldn't recommend brining your turkey more.  It's the single most effective treatment I've ever found to produce a juicy, consistent succulent bird with tasty, crackling skin.

    This preparation makes such a difference that I've gotten so that I can immediately tell if a prepared turkey has been brined beforehand or not.

    Here you go - hard to top an Alton Brown recipe !

    Teddy had the Square Deal. FDR had the New Deal. Obama's got the BFD.

    by thenekkidtruth on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 08:40:04 AM PST

    •  I've heard of people making pickled turkey (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth, DawnN, FarWestGirl

      gizzards, but they cook them before pickling. I have brined raw turkeys before roasting them--turkey is really good if you brine it, then cure it in a smokehouse. I may do a diary one day on curing and smoking meats.

      •  YEARS ago I pickled grunions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think they are a west coast thing, but in late spring they come up on the beaches to spawn.  They're smallish fish, maybe 7 inches or so.  Anyway, we went down to Redondo Beach in Southern California and collected quite a few, and pickled them much like you would do with herring.  Add a bit of sour cream or creme fraiche before serving, and they aren't bad at all.

        Anyone here ever gone to the beach during the grunion runs?  Now you know what to do with them.

        "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

        by Keith930 on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 02:50:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Pickled Garlic!!!!!! (7+ / 0-)

    Just fill a jar with peeled garlic cloves and pour vinegar, a little salt, and a spoonful of honey (Heat the mixture first) over it.

    Put the jar in the fridge and try not to eat it too fast.

    Doing this in a water bath, traditional style, makes a pickle that is superb after a year of storage.

    Use the vinegar for salad dressing.

    Focus on the love! The Republicans can keep the disco.

    by Mr Horrible on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 09:06:06 AM PST

  •  Dilly Beans (6+ / 0-)

    My whole family craves dilly beans.  We might eat more dilly beans than turkey at the extended family Thanksgiving weekend every year.  

    Here's the recipe I use, but believe me there are a lot of other favorites:

    Yield - 4 pints

    2 lbs green beans (there are yellow bean enthusiasts)
    2 cups water
    2 cups white distilled vinegar
    3 tablespoons of salt (less for those trying to cut down)
    several sprigs of fresh dill - about 1/2 hand full)
    4 cloves of garlic
    2 to 4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes

    Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil, then place a sprig or two of dill in each wide mouth pint, one clove of garlic, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or more if heat is desired) in each sterilized pint jar.  Pack the beans, long and vertically.  Ladle the boiling fluids into the pints, leaving a little more than 1/2" headspace.  

    They are great with beer and far better for me than chips.  I put up about 4 dozen quarts this year, and I'm down to a dozen or so now.  All but about a half dozen or so of those were given to friends and relatives who requested them.  

  •  I always make refrigerator pickles (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, DawnN, FarWestGirl, commonmass

    with the pounds and pounds of cucumbers we get from our CSA every year. This "recipe" make something in between dill pickles and sweet pickles in flavor.

    I don't really measure things when I make it, so here are some approximations.

    **1 food safe quart container with a tight-fitting lid
    **sliced cucumbers to fill 3 quarters of the container (I use little cucumbers, but anything will work... I also quarter them before slicing to make little triangles, but you can make halfmoons or circles... the thinner the slices are, the quicker they'll pickle)
    **a handful of fresh dill, chopped (dried dill or dill seed works, too, but takes longer to infuse into the liquid)
    **2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (optional)

    For liquid:

    **about a cup of cider vinegar
    **salt to taste (start with 1 Tbsp or so)
    **pepper to taste (5-6 good grinds)
    **1/2 cup sugar or agave nectar

    I usually don't heat the liquid. Instead I put it in a tightly sealed mason jar and shake the heck out of it to dissolve most of the salt. But you can also heat it just until the salt is dissolved. Give the liquid a taste... you want something that is salty, sweet, acidic and just a bit peppery. The right mixture will taste about twice as strong as the finished product.

    Pour the liquid over the solids. It won't cover all the way, but the cukes will quickly start to release moisture. Give the container a good shake every hour or so. If I slice really thinly and keep the mixture at room temp, it will be ready to eat in 2-4 hours. Store leftovers in fridge, where they're easily keep for for 2-3 weeks (and probably longer). Over that time, they'll get more and more pickled. But good luck keeping it around that long.

    I love this pickle as a side dish for burgers or sandwiches (use a slotted spoon to serve). The leftover liquid (don't throw it away!) is delicious mixed with oil and used as a salad dressing (or over pasta primavera). A splash of the liquid also adds nice depth to any soup that needs a bit more acid.

    By evening’s end, they had melted into an indistinguishable mass of privatizing, tax-cutting opponents of Shariah law. --NYT on 2nd Republican debate

    by wide eyed lib on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 11:02:24 AM PST

  •  Thank You! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, DawnN, FarWestGirl

    Bookmarked.  Will you do the Sauerkraut  you used to make?  I can't wait.

    "All the races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected." - From Native American Code of Ethics

    by Tyto Alba on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 11:25:01 AM PST

  •  This is great, because it takes away the (5+ / 0-)

    mystery and makes it look easy.  The comments add to the wonder of it all.

    I am bowled over by the great foodie diaries we have had here, and am continually encouraged to try something forgotten or new.

    Thank you so much.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 11:28:29 AM PST

  •  Pennsyvania Dutch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tonyahky, commonmass

    These are actually Germans, not Dutch.  The story is that the folks would identify themselves as Deutsch (i.e., German).  This got bastardized into Dutch.  I was born near that section of Pennsylvania and spent time as a child visiting relatives in the area.

    Now if I could just find some pear schnitz.

  •  Pickling ingredients gathering (0+ / 0-)

    I had an idea last year about collecting my ingredients.
    My son gave me some gallon plastic white jars that had mixes for power drinks.  I was forever scouring around thru cupboards for my ingredients.....not anymore.

    I used the white plastic jar and put what ingredients I needed into the jars and documented contents in magic marker using this plastic jug as a white board....for instance......dill pickles....then I wrote ingredients I had on hand placed in jar.  Those ingredients I couldn't include I also wrote on outside of jar....white vinegar..garlic..cider vinegar.  (I used dill seed I collected from previous planting but I could have written down as ingredient not included prompting me to go purchase fresh dill)

    So now when I go to make dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, etc. I grab the labeled jar knowing all the things I need are in one place.  Believe me, it's hell getting old!  

    I can post a pic if anyone needs a visual.

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