Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pickle Me!

While we were away the NY Times had a recipe for pickles that reminded me of my grandmother.  Not that I ever saw her cook, but I'd heard about Nonie on the ranch, making pickles and putting up beans and tomatoes, and Auntie Day setting kraut for the neighbors - apparently, if your kraut isn't set right it will spoil not ferment into deliciousness.  Who knew?  She also raised chickens and they were in great demand - and I have a dynamite recipe for fried chicken.  But that, as Des says, is a whole 'nother Oprah.  

So I thought I'd try to make pickles - it looked so simple, the hardest ingredient is patience.
I have made them now with both pickling cucumbers and Persian cucumbers.  With garlic and without.  With dill flowers and coriander.  And a pinch of hot pepper flakes.  They are all delicious.  
So here is the recipe.  To each quart jar I add half a clove of thinly sliced garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, sometimes a quarter teaspoon of whole coriander seeds.  You can do what ever you want.  

Do use the filtered water - our water has an extra-long-lasting form of chlorine (chloramine, if memory serves...) and it doesn't dissipate as normal chlorine does.  

They get cloudy, they get a little bubbly.  Taste them, refrigerate when they're sour enough for you.  I like them still a bit crisp, so I'm a three day pickle person.  You're on your own.

These are yummy with potato salad, with hot dogs, all the summer foods.  Except home-made ice cream.  Not so good there.

Sour Pickles
(from the NY Times I think...)
20 minutes, plus 3 to 5 days brining
  1. 2 pounds freshly picked firm, unwaxed, bumpy pickling cucumbers, often called Kirby
  2. 2 cloves spring garlic, sliced thin (optional)
  3. 1 dill flower, or 5 sprigs fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dill seed (optional)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed (optional)
  5. 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and slivered (optional)
  6. 2 tablespoons salt
Soak cucumbers for 30 minutes in a bowl filled with ice water to loosen any dirt. Slice the blossom end off each cucumber, which is opposite the stem end. If you aren’t sure which end is which, slice a little off each. Cut cucumbers into spears or chunks, if desired.
Pack cucumbers into one or two clean quart jars. Tuck in garlic, dill, coriander and jalapeño, if using.
Add salt to two cups boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Add two cups of ice (made with filtered water if yours is chlorinated). Stir well until the ice has melted and the brine is cool. Pour brine into jars, covering cucumbers.
Loosely cap jars and place in a bowl or pan because the jars may leak during fermentation.
Leave pickles on the counter to ferment. The brine will bubble lazily and become cloudy. Taste after 3 days, leaving on the counter another day or two if you want your pickles more sour, or refrigerating if they’re ready. They keep a month in the refrigerator.
1 to 2 quarts

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