Friday, August 19, 2011

Pickles for Beginners

I don't eat many pickles every year, but the thought of being able to make my own is intriguing. And I think that a picnic basket filled with homemade pickles, homemade ketsup, and homemade mustard would make a great Christmas gift for family. After reading a few websites, I figured that I could manage making pickles.

There are a few different kinds of pickles: refrigerator pickles, lacto-fermented pickles, and canned pickles. Each kind has its pros and cons. Refrigerator pickles stay crisp, but they of course take up space in the fridge. Lacto-fermented pickles have beneficial digestive properties. Canned pickles can easily be stored in a pantry, but they lose their crisp after several months.

Washed Pickling Cucumbers
I'd like to make all the different kinds of pickles. For starters I made the refrigerator pickles. I used a recipe from a farmer. Just add brine to pickling cucumbers...anyone can do that. After feeling good about the first patch of pickles, I canned some dill pickles. I really liked the recipe, but my pickles lost their brilliant green color. I also noticed that a couple jars have garlic sticking out of the brine, so those jars might end up in the fridge. I think the brine settled into gaps after I put the jars into the water bath, and I should have stirred the contents to remove air bubbles. Please visit this blog for good step by step instructions.

Canned Dill Pickles
My next goal is lacto-fermented pickles!

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