Pick a Peck of Pickles

Four weeks ago, I ran into the farmer’s market and grabbed a whole lot of pickling cucumbers. I had a fresh cukes, some dill, garlic, salt, and most importantly, a gorgeous crock.

Crock

A few years ago I tried a recipe for crock pickles that used cider vinegar. After carefully tending to them for a five or six weeks, we were all giddy with anticipation… and sorely disappointed. They were terrible. The cider vinegar seemed all wrong, harsh, even bitter. So I was a teeny bit trepidatious when setting up my lacto ferment with the baby cukes this time around.

Garlic

Have you heard of half sour pickles? You might know them as barrel dills or deli style pickles. They aren’t actually “pickled” per se, but are fermented. The cukes, other flavoring ingredients (peppercorns, garlic, and dill head), and grape leaves (the tannins help retain crispness) are placed in a water tight container, covered with a salt solution which prevents bacterial growth that will lead to spoilage, and allowed to ferment with the naturally occurring lactobaccili, which turns the vegetable flesh into a tangy, slightly salty treat. It is the same method used to produce sauerkraut.

Pickles Under Glass

Here you can see the cukes are contained under a glass pie plate and a glass jar filled with the brine solution. You can use food-grade plastics, but glass is non-reactive and  leaves me with no worries that anything may be leaching into my brine. Of course, you have to be super careful with glass; if it should break into your crock, well, you’ll have to throw the entire batch out.

Pickles All Wrapped Up

I check on them almost daily, or at least every three or four days. There is some surface mold to deal with, but otherwise they are pretty low maintenance. You just have to make sure the cucumbers stay under the brine (air is the enemy of lacto ferments!). Finally, after four or five weeks, mine are ready. This week, I have to place them in clean jars with new brine, give a bunch away to neighbors, and place what’s left in the fridge.

I might add that these pickles, along with a nice cold beer, make an excellent dinner! For me anyway… the kids get cereal… and milk.

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12 thoughts on “Pick a Peck of Pickles

  1. My mom used to jar pickles. I swear I can’t replicate it if my life depended on it. You should see what happened when I tried making tomato sauce from my garden tomatoes this year.There’s a reason I have no photos of it b/c it require 2 sets of hands just to get it all done. I love pickles! I used to have a good friend that loved drinking pickle juice.

    • Yeah, I have to admit, this pickle juice is super yummy! Already used it in a salad here and there!

      All of us in this house love pickles. I blame my parents who started canning pickles way back when I was six. Of course, they used cucumbers from their own garden, but I didn’t have such luck this year 😉

    • Oh!! That’s a GREAT idea!! I have a can of tiny cornichons set aside pickling right now that have a few chilis in them. Those ones are just for me…

  2. Did I ever tell you how much I love reading your blogs? Anyway, once you jar the pickles, how long can you keep them in the fridge, and why can’t you can them so you don’t have to eat them all right away. These type of pickles are a favorite of you sister-in-law, believe it or not. just don’t tell her they are home made 🙂

    • The heat from canning will kill off all the good bacteria and change the lactic acid which is what gives these pickles their flavor. I have other recipes for jarred pickles, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to that this year.

      And thanks for lovin’ on the blog Mom 😉

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