Author Topic: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?  (Read 979 times)

RusticBohemian

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Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« on: December 02, 2018, 09:53:06 AM »
Few questions:

1) Is making your own pickles via fermentation in a mason jar worth the effort?
2) Are results poor without pickling cucumbers? They don't seem to be available around here.
3) What's your favorite recipe for pickles?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 09:55:52 AM by RusticBohemian »

Cranky

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 12:04:53 PM »
I just make refrigerator pickles in the summer. Takes a few minutes. Delicious!

Milizard

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 12:46:04 PM »
I've never made them myself, but you just can't buy the kind of mouth-puckering Polish dill pickles like my mom used to make.  I'm going to have to find her recipe...

sparkytheop

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2018, 02:31:20 PM »
Making fermented pickles would require very little effort (you put them in a jar with the brine, let them sit, and refrigerate them, no need to can, because that would kill off the benefits of fermenting them).

I have done refrigerator pickles and those were worth it to me.  I did not use "pickling" cucumbers, just regular ones from the garden (including lemon pickles).  Definitely worth it.

As far as fermenting goes, I only really have experience with sauerkraut and kombucha.  Both were easy with very little effort on my part, so worth it if you like it.

I've had these fermented pickles though, when I took a fermentation class with the local Extension Office...

(attached pdf from Oregon State University's Extension Office)

ETA: and, of course, I now see that that version is "out of date", but there is a newer version linked at the top of the page. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/pnw355  You can download the .pdf free.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 02:34:40 PM by sparkytheop »

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2018, 02:33:53 PM »
I've never made them myself, but you just can't buy the kind of mouth-puckering Polish dill pickles like my mom used to make.  I'm going to have to find her recipe...

Would you mind sharing with the rest of the class? Fellow Pole here.

GuitarStv

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2018, 02:35:38 PM »
No, it ruins perfectly good cucumbers.

NV Teacher

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2018, 06:55:29 PM »
Bottling dill pickles is super easy.  Pack cucumbers in a jar, cover with a water vinegar salt solution, and stuff in some dill weed.  Run through a water bath cycle and you're done.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 03:57:25 PM by NV Teacher »

Milizard

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2018, 07:03:32 PM »
I've never made them myself, but you just can't buy the kind of mouth-puckering Polish dill pickles like my mom used to make.  I'm going to have to find her recipe...

Would you mind sharing with the rest of the class? Fellow Pole here.
If I find it, I'll definitely share.  Unfortunately, DM passed away earlier this year, so I have to search her home.  I have a feeling she got that recipe from her cousin, so I'll ask that family if I don't find it in her effects.

Kayad

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2018, 08:49:04 PM »
Few questions:

1) Is making your own pickles via fermentation in a mason jar worth the effort?
2) Are results poor without pickling cucumbers? They don't seem to be available around here.
3) What's your favorite recipe for pickles?

1.  Real fermented pickles are delicious, and the effort is minimal.  I use a 2 qt fido glass jar, with a glass lid from a cheap walmart jar as the weight.  They are unlikely to go wrong because you use a saltier brine than you do for most other vegetable ferments.
2.  Can't say for sure, but I think if the cuke is tasty, it will make a tasty pickle.
3.  Jam a jar full of cucumbers (cut off the blossom end first), a few cloves of garlic, some hot peppers (or pepper flakes), and some dill fronds (or seeds).  Cover with a 3.5% brine.  (helpful brine calculator: www.pickl-it.com/blog/?c=recipes ).  Let the jar sit on the counter for two weeks or so, then move it into the fridge, eat or let it get more sour. 
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 08:53:18 PM by Kayad »

nereo

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2018, 06:34:34 AM »
Few questions:

1) Is making your own pickles via fermentation in a mason jar worth the effort?
2) Are results poor without pickling cucumbers? They don't seem to be available around here.
3) What's your favorite recipe for pickles?

1) what effort?  It's dirt simple and takes almost no time at all.  Slice a few cucumbers, stuff them in a jar and add your own solutions of water, vinegar, salt and spices.  I normally make 3-4 jars at a time and from start to finish it takes maybe 15 minutes. Just make sure your jars are clean to start.
2) i don't understand the question - maybe we are using different nomenclature.  To me, pickling is preserving food in a somewhat acidic solution. Fermentation is one type of pickling.
3) Don't have the recipe in front of me (may ETA later tonight) but it's basically water, raw cider vinegar, a little sugar, dill, garlic powder, peppercorns and chili flakes (I like a little heat in my pickle).  Disolve the salt and spices in hot water and pour over cucumber slices, then add vinegar last (otherwise you kill the good bacteria in the cider vinegar). Tasty.

Usually I use my own homemade cider vinegar, which is another thing that takes almost no effort whatsoever (put apple cores & peels into a jar, add distilled water.  Let sit).

Maenad

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2018, 09:09:02 AM »
Bottling dill pickles is super easy.  Pack cucumbers in a jar, cover with a water vinegar salt solution, and stuff in some dill weed.  Run through a water bath cycle and your done.

This is how I make pickles too - every couple of years I'll buy half a bushel at the farmer's market and go on a pickling rampage. They're sooooooo much better than the store-bought (I use the recipe from the Old Farmer's Almanac (https://www.almanac.com/recipe/crunchy-dill-pickles). They need to sit for ~6 weeks to pickle fully. I know that for this recipe you can buy larger cukes and cut them down if needed.

There are also fermented pickles that use lactobacillus bacteria to produce the acid as opposed to vinegar. (https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/08/lacto-fermented-dill-pickle-recipe.html) My mom used to make these with wild grape leaves. I should borrow one of her old crocks...


jeninco

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2018, 12:02:33 PM »
Bottling dill pickles is super easy.  Pack cucumbers in a jar, cover with a water vinegar salt solution, and stuff in some dill weed.  Run through a water bath cycle and your done.

This is how I make pickles too - every couple of years I'll buy half a bushel at the farmer's market and go on a pickling rampage. They're sooooooo much better than the store-bought (I use the recipe from the Old Farmer's Almanac (https://www.almanac.com/recipe/crunchy-dill-pickles). They need to sit for ~6 weeks to pickle fully. I know that for this recipe you can buy larger cukes and cut them down if needed.

There are also fermented pickles that use lactobacillus bacteria to produce the acid as opposed to vinegar. (https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/08/lacto-fermented-dill-pickle-recipe.html) My mom used to make these with wild grape leaves. I should borrow one of her old crocks...

The reason for the grape leaves (and I think you can use oak leaves instead) is that they keep the pickles crunchier. I've done this, and it works well.  If you also make yogurt, you can "goose" the brine by adding a little whey to introduce more nice lactobacillus bacteria.

I've made sauerkraut for no reason then because I bought a cabbage that was too big to fit into my refrigerator (it was larger then my head). It's quite simple!

nereo

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2018, 12:15:09 PM »
I'm so happy to realize another use for extra whey.  We make lots of yogurt and batches of ricotta, and I simply can't use the whey faster than we produce it (much winds up as a fertilizer-spray for our garden, which seems almost as bad as tossing it down the drain).

@Maenad - does your mom have one of those large crocks with a weighted top?  Been searching for one (cheap) at flea markets, but to date no luck. 

Maenad

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Re: Making Pickles - Worth the effort?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2018, 10:02:46 AM »
I don't think mom's crocks have those awesome lids - I don't remember one anyway. They're really hard to find! She just used a plate that was approximately the same diameter as the inside of the crock.