3 06 2010

pickle ingredients

In a CSA box a few weeks ago I got one giant Armenian cucumber (seriously, it was longer than my children were when they were born*) and a big bunch of dill, so I figured it was a Sign to make pickles. So I Googled it, trying to keep specific to Armenian cucumbers, so I didn’t screw anything up starting with a recipe intended for actual pickling cukes. I found this one** called, “Speed Pickles,” and was only slightly disappointed to discover it doesn’t actually call for speed. It did, however, call for grape or oak leaves which presented a slight problem since stores don’t sell these (not even grape leaves, which is stupid) and I couldn’t identify an oak leaf if my life depended on it (and grape leaves don’t grow just anywhere – or if they do, I can’t recognize those, either). Luckily, I whined about this at park day and a friend offered me some leaves from her own grape vines! Win!

armenian cucumber & peeled garlic

So Margie and I set to it. It involved putting the ingredients in a jar. Honestly, it took longer to take photos than it did to make the pickles. I mean, unless you count the 4-7 days the jar has to sit on your counter while it ferments.

pickles, pickling

About three days into it, I heard a hissing coming from the jar. Originally, I thought it was coming from the fridge and I called the landlord. But then I realized my pickles were carbonated and forcing small amounts of air out of the canning lid. It’s a good thing my landlord never bothered calling back. Or something. Anyway, visions of exploding glass jars filled my mind and I unscrewed the lid and just left the circle part on (you know how canning lids are, right?). Many people ferment veggies and other stuff without lids – the essential part is that the food is all under the liquid. This is part of the purpose of the grape leaves, but people use other things as a weight to hold the food down, too, like a baggie filled with water or a smaller jar. I used a dunker which I got on Etsy in a batch of seconds so they were super cheap (and quite pretty).

pickles, pickled

I let them sit a bit longer on the counter and then finally put them in the fridge. Originally, I planned to let them sit longer, but I felt like it would be a better ending to this blog entry if I ate some so I threw them on a turkey burger patty and took a picture. They were quite bitter and not tangy. I am not yet sure if this is because they aren’t totally done yet, or if it’s because I used too much dill (b/c Lord only knows what a “head” of dill equals…. Well, Lord and maybe some more experienced chefs). So I’ll update eventually with results and I’ll blog more about my adventures in fermenting as I get into it more (or, you know, I won’t, if it turns out to be uninteresting or boring or ugly).

pickles, eaten!

*Actually, this might be a lie since I never measured the cucumber. You could probably estimate how long it was from the photo, but I am loads too lazy for that shit. Let me know what you find out.
**I didn’t use vinegar in my recipe. FYI/