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Old 02-02-2016, 09:06 AM
 
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After visiting a friend who is into fermenting all kinds of foods, I got this book out of the library, Fermented Vegetables by K. Shockey. Many interesting recipes in there, including one of the simplest of them all -- cucumber pickles!

The recipe is very simple: fresh, unchlorinated water + sea salt + sliced cukes. This generates a tart, fermented pickle that is different from the standard vinegar pickles that are commonly sold.

Now, today, I finally have all the ingredients: a $0.99 gallon of Poland Springs water, a pound of coarse sea salt (they recommend against commercial salt which contains anti-caking agents), and of course some pickling cukes. Will repost here in a couple of weeks when and if, I hope, the pickles have emerged.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:21 AM
 
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Fermented pickles are delicious! And you can add seasonings, too. Last time I made them, I used pickling spices.

Fermented sauerkraut is also delicious. As a matter of fact, I need to start another batch.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:53 AM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
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OP, please post the quantities of each to use, ie: the recipe
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:02 PM
 
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OK here's the recipe:

Cucumber brine:
1 gallon water (preferably, chlorine-free, spring water or distilled; some people boil before using)
3/4 cup salt (preferably, sea salt or other non-processed salt, lacking in anti-caking additives)
(Kosher pickling salt also has additives)

Prepare salt-water brine. Store unused portion in fridge up to a week, then discard.

Pack 20 pickling cukes into crock or jar. Leave a few inches at the top. Add:
15 slightly mashed garlic cloves
2 dried red chiles
6 bay leaves
2 TB pickling spice, or 1.5 tp mustard seed, 1 tp dill seed, 1 tp coriander seed

Cover veggies and spices with brine in a gallon jug or four 1-quart jars. Place a grape leaf or other tannin-rich leaf (oak, horseradish, sour cherry, currant) over the vegetables. This is the "primary follower". Keeps the veggies submerged and away from the air.

In a crock, add a plate with a weight on it ("secondary follower") to keep veggies wedged beneath the surface. In a jar, probably not necessary.

Loosely cover the jar with the lid, don't clamp it down or screw it on tight. Cover with a clean towel. Set aside out of the sun, in 55-75F, cooler is better. Keep veggies submerged; scoop out scum from surface and discard. Add more brine if necessary.

Let ferment 3-6 days. Continue to monitor it and top off with brine as needed.

As the acids interact with the chlorophyll, the cukes will turn from bright green to dull olive color. Brine will become cloudy as lactic acid is produced. 3-4 days for half sours. 6 days for full sours. When pickles are ready, refrigerate up to one year.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:06 PM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emeraldmaiden View Post
Fermented pickles are delicious! And you can add seasonings, too. Last time I made them, I used pickling spices.

Fermented sauerkraut is also delicious. As a matter of fact, I need to start another batch.

Question about fermenting, I've been told that once you've made homemade sauerkraut you'll never use store bought again. I wanted to try making it but looking around on the 'net I found some articles warning about botulism, claiming you need things like air-locks during fermentation, etc. when I'd been led to believe you basically just throw cabbage, salt in a crock and let it happen.

Do you do anything special when making pickles, sauerkraut, anything fermented?
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:32 PM
 
3,750 posts, read 3,472,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burdell View Post
Question about fermenting, I've been told that once you've made homemade sauerkraut you'll never use store bought again. I wanted to try making it but looking around on the 'net I found some articles warning about botulism, claiming you need things like air-locks during fermentation, etc. when I'd been led to believe you basically just throw cabbage, salt in a crock and let it happen.

Do you do anything special when making pickles, sauerkraut, anything fermented?
Salt. It keeps the bad bacteria from growing. When I've made sauerkraut, the main thing was to layer the leaves with salt as I worked on them.

You can use any kind of jar, but look for Filo jars that have the metal clamps; they're designed to let the excess CO2 out even when closed.

I highly recommend making sauerkraut, by the way. Easy and quick to make, and delicious. The important thing is to work the cabbage leaves until there's a lot of water, and make sure the leaves stay completely submerged, or else they can grow mold. Some instructions say, just cut off the mold.

I've started my pickles. However, the cukes were just starting to grow this white fuzzy stuff. I scrubbed them pretty hard in the sink under running water, so I hope it's all gone. But maybe they're just not fresh enough, and will not turn out well. If so, I'm out about 50 cents worth of water, salt, and a couple of dollars worth of cukes. Not the end of the world, but will definitely look around for fresher ones. Maybe a farmer's market.
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:02 PM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
57,977 posts, read 40,715,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Salt. It keeps the bad bacteria from growing. When I've made sauerkraut, the main thing was to layer the leaves with salt as I worked on them.

You can use any kind of jar, but look for Filo jars that have the metal clamps; they're designed to let the excess CO2 out even when closed.

I highly recommend making sauerkraut, by the way. Easy and quick to make, and delicious. The important thing is to work the cabbage leaves until there's a lot of water, and make sure the leaves stay completely submerged, or else they can grow mold. Some instructions say, just cut off the mold.

I've started my pickles. However, the cukes were just starting to grow this white fuzzy stuff. I scrubbed them pretty hard in the sink under running water, so I hope it's all gone. But maybe they're just not fresh enough, and will not turn out well. If so, I'm out about 50 cents worth of water, salt, and a couple of dollars worth of cukes. Not the end of the world, but will definitely look around for fresher ones. Maybe a farmer's market.
Thanks! I'd seen one recipe in a locally published magazine that called for a medium head of cabbage shredded and only 1 Tbsp of salt, and no mention od adding any water to make sure everything was submerged?

Although I'd seen the warnings about botulism I believe I read somewhere there's only about ~110 cases/year reported in the US. I'm probably a little paranoid, only had food poisoning once (apparently a bad egg in spaghetti carbonara) and it was not pleasant.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:15 PM
 
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Thanks for this! This is how we always made pickles when I was growing up. We always added a few dill sprigs.

Very important to make sure all the bottles and covers are sterilized. And very important not to put your hand into the jar when you pull out a pickle, always use a clean utensil.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shira_k View Post
...And very important not to put your hand into the jar when you pull out a pickle, always use a clean utensil.
Hey - I've been stuffing my hands into pickle jars for years.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:22 PM
 
6,580 posts, read 6,783,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burdell View Post
Question about fermenting, I've been told that once you've made homemade sauerkraut you'll never use store bought again. I wanted to try making it but looking around on the 'net I found some articles warning about botulism, claiming you need things like air-locks during fermentation, etc. when I'd been led to believe you basically just throw cabbage, salt in a crock and let it happen.

Do you do anything special when making pickles, sauerkraut, anything fermented?
The salt retards growth of any bad bacteria until the lactobacillus has a chance to work.

I used a clean mason jar, with a glass weight on the cabbage, and the lid loosely on. I checked it every day; you can tell you're getting fermentation by bubbles at the top, and by the expansion of the contents. The brine will rise and then fall, and then you should taste it to see if it's done. Loosen the lid a bit when it's bubbling, so that you can let the excess gas out. My first batch was done in a week, but that's because I had it in a warm room. Fermentation time varies with temperature.

Preparation is super easy. Shred, slice or chunk the cabbage (your choice, but smaller will go faster), layer in a bowl with a spoonful of salt sprinkled over each layer of cabbage. Use your hands or a tool to mash the cabbage a bit. You don't want it to be pulverized, but you want the cabbage broken down a little bit to let the salt leach out some of the juice and allow it to ferment faster. The brine level in your container should completely cover the cabbage (or cukes, or whatever veg you're trying), and then you put your weight on it. I use glass pickling weights, because I ferment in jars, but I'd love to get a crock.
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