Brined Pickles: A Follow-Up Report
It occurs to me that I never wrote about how our brined kosher dills turned out. Since I started those back in mid-July, we have made a bunch more fermented pickles. First, a look at how the original batch turned out:
This is what they look like after three weeks of fermenting in the crock. I pulled them out of the crock and gave them a quick rinse, then strained the brine into a pot to boil it.
(Now, I know that boiling it kills all the good bacteria from the fermentation process, making this no longer a "living food" and blah blah blah. But we don't have enough room in our refrigerator for 10 gallons of pickles chilling in their living brine. Gotta can them, and that means boiling it all up. It doesn't really change the flavor, which is my main purpose here.)
Anyway, after boiling the strained brine, you pack the pickles in hot jars, pour the brine over them, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
As you can see, the brine is a bit cloudy. It settles after a bit though, just like sediment in a wine.
After these were done, I made another, smaller batch of kosher dills in a glass crock that is small enough to keep on the kitchen counter:
I also made a smaller jar of spears. Because those have a lot of exposed inner flesh, they were quick to ferment on the counter — done in just five days. These I popped in the fridge, and I'm sure my digestive system is very grateful for all the good bacteria.
The batch in the glass crock was just finished this weekend, and Kirk and I canned them up along with another big batch he had made with horseradish and dill in one of our sauerkraut crocks.
And, because the minute you turn around you find more cucumbers to pick, I halved some new cukes and put them in a couple of wide-mouthed quart jars for a quick refrigerator pickle:
Curry Sour Pickles
Fill a quart jar with halved or quartered cucumbers. Add 3 peppercorns, 2 allspice (pieces? corns?), 1 cardamom pod, 1 small clove of garlic, 1 pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 big pinch of mustard seed (I used brown mustard from last year's harvest), and 1/8 tsp. curry powder.
Stir 1 Tbs. of salt into 1 cup of water until dissolved, then pour over cucumbers in the jar.
Top off to the 1/2 inch headspace line (where the lid threads meet the jar) with white vinegar.
Tighten the lid, give it a shake, and put in the fridge. It should get a shake each day, and should be ready to eat in 3-5 days. These aren't for canning — they just stay in the fridge, along with all the other odds and ends of pickles that didn't make a whole jar to can and ended up in the fridge for summer eating.