Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Making Pickles

What you see above is pickle-making in progress. I'm using a family recipe that my mom dug out of my grandmother's hand-written recipe notebook. I'm not canning, mind you, just making pickles that'll keep in the fridge for about a month.

Here's how: I scrubbled clean about 25 farmer's market cucumbers and cut off the ends. Then I pricked them all over with a fork and put them in a bowl with layers of dill seed heads, black currant leaves (optional) and half a dozen garlic cloves. (If I had horseradish root, I'd use it.)

I brought a liter of water to a boil, added a tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of kosher salt, and poured the hot water over the pickles. Then I added about two tablespoons of vinegar to the bowl. I put a plate with a weight (a bottle of vegetable oil) over the bowl. The brine is working its magic as I write this, but we'll see how the pickles turn out in two days.

Update: The pickles are pretty good: nice and crunchy, if a bit too salty. They need another day in the fridge after their two-day brine bath for the best taste.


Garrett said...

What a delicious picture and a delicious idea. I loved the Japanese winter pickles I made last year. Can't wait to read how it turns out.

Yulinka said...

Garrett--I'm very curious about Japanese pickles now that you mention them. My pickles aren't done yet, but we'll see in another day or two.

Anonymous said...

Yulinka, I tried your recipe and the spicing and saltiness were just right. However, the ends of pickles were very mooshy. I let them sit on the counter for a week. Do you think that it was too long, or something else is at play. By the way, I did cut off the ends of the cukes. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Yulinka said...

Anonymous--Yes, I'd say a week on the counter is too long. Two days should be enough, and the flavor really improves after another day or two in the fridge. In fact, these pickles seem to get better with time--they were good 4-5 days after I made them and great 3 weeks later. Hope that helps.

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