Thursday, July 08, 2010

New quick and easy crock pickle recipe

We have loads of fresh dill in the garden right now, a few cukes, and many more I bought at the farmers market on Saturday.  I just bottled a new batch of crock pickles - i.e. lacto-fermented, non pressure-canned, crunchy wonderful "raw" pickles!  Yum!  We love pickles of all sorts in the house and have been making various krauts and wild ferments for some time.  What I love about crock pickles and wild fermented foods is, that not only do they have a long list of health benefits, but making them is just so easy.  The house isn't heated up during these hot days, the flavours and textures are perfect, and it feels like tapping into an ancient tradition.

This pickle recipe is different from my usual crock pickle recipe (which comes from the amazing book by Sandor Ellix Katz called "Wild Fermentation", where the pickles are left to stand at room temperature in the crock covered with brine for several weeks to months).  This one is a variation for getting good crisp pickles very quickly, with a somewhat milder flavour.  It was actually in the latest Summer issue of the LCBO food & drink magazine - a somewhat unusual place to find recipes but actually most of their recipes I've tried have been wonderful (I imagine they have a great test kitchen).  It's not listed on their website yet so I'll do a loose summary of it here.  I doubled it, using 4 lbs (2 kg) cucumbers, which made 4 large 1 litre jars.

Pickle in Brine Recipe
1) Make a strong salt brine (1/2 cup pickling salt to 8 cups cold water),  for 2 lbs (1 kg) small cucumbers.
2) Remove a small portion of both ends of the cucumber.  Soak pickles in the salt brine, in a large crock or food grade bucket, weighing down pickles with a heavy plate so they are completely covered in brine for 12-24 hours (at room temperature).
3) Then rinse off pickling salt with several changes of water. 
4) Make a vinegar solution of 2 1/2 cups water : 2 cups white vinegar. 
5) Pack pickles into clean narrow-mouthed 1 litre mason jars. Add several cloves of garlic, 2 tsp pickling spices, a branch of dill, a grape leaf (optional), and enough vinegar water to cover to the top over the pickles. 
6) Add clean lids and store in fridge for upto 2 weeks.  Pickles can be eaten right away, but should be eaten within this 2 week timeframe.

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