Thursday, September 1, 2011

PICKLE TIME



Pickles are not hard to make. Don't be shy to make your own.

As many of you know, Paul is always game for preserving. He has made oodles of jams over the years and recently he has been tempted by the savory route. A couple of weeks ago, he whipped up a batch of pickles and I thought I'd share the easy recipe with you. A favorite book of Paul's, the urban homestead is filled with all sorts of practical tips for greener, simpler living. Their pickle recipe is one that uses traditional lacto-fermentation - no vinegar is needed, just salt water. Before canning or freezing, lacto-fermentation was a means of preserving the vegetable harvest.

Last week was an amazingly vibrant and particularly food-obsessed week here in Berkeley as Chez Panisse celebrated it's 40th birthday. There were endless fun and delicious events to raise money for the Edible Schoolyard Project and Eating for Education. At the Berkeley Art Museum, farmers, bakers, kids, and beekeepers set up demonstrations and shared a love of food. Teens from Oakland-based Obugs taught pickle making and they used the lacto-fermentation technique Paul had just learned. I smiled at this coincidence and my kids eagerly make their own custom batches of pickles.


INGREDIENTS adapted from the urban homesteader
(printable recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (do not use iodized salt)
  • 1 quart filtered or bottled water
  • enough cucumbers to fill a quart jar (note that all sorts of other veggies can be used like carrots, baby onions, green beans, cabbage, garlic...) 
  • flavor enhancers: dill (fresh or dried), black peppercorns, garlic cloves
  • optional: grape leaf

Make your brine solution by mixing the sea salt and water.

Pack washed cucumbers into a very clean quart-sized jar. Add seasoning to your liking... a few peeled garlic cloves, some black peppercorns, and some sprigs of dill. You can also use a bit of grape leaf in the jar (a tip from Obugs) to keep the cucumber crunchier.

Pour salty water over the cucumbers until the jar is nearly full. Leave a quarter inch of breathing room before you put on the lid.

Place your jar of pickles in a dark place (not the fridge) and let the fermenting begin. Obugs recommended loosening the jar's lid every morning and tightening it back up every night. My boy Otis really liked this idea and has started to call his jar of pickles his "pet." Maybe I need to get my kid a dog!

After a few days, taste your pickles and see if they are ready to eat. Pickling can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks.

Once your pickles are done, place jar in the fridge to prolong the life.

Enjoy!




31 comments:

  1. Beautiful! It makes a great gift.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Beautiful photos Erin. Love the one of the dill - it looks so fresh.

    We love cucumber pickles too - have about 35 jars right now at home. I do use vinegar though (but minimal amount) and go through the water bath canning process. Your method is interesting! I will try it to see how it tastes in comparison.

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  3. I'm so glad you posted this! I have an obsession with pickles and chips which started long before pregnancy. It's about time I learned how to make my own. And yes what a wonderful idea for a gift!

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  4. Thanks Rosa! You are so right about the gift thing... I always like to give preserved goodies. I hope my friends' pantries aren't already full;)

    Jenn, I'm so curious to hear what you think about the difference between vinegar-cured versus lacto-fermentation. I am a newbie and look forward your more experienced opinion.

    Jamie, there really is something addictive about the tangy bite of something pickled, isn't there? I want to try red onion next!

    -E

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  5. I made dill pickles for the 1st time last year and loved it. I have quite a few books around this topic, however the urban homestead is new to me and on my list. This is a must make recipe. Love your photos!!

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  6. This is perfect. Alex has been wanting to make pickles. Thanks.

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  7. Lisa, Thanks! I think you'd dig that urban homestead book.g There are quite a cool and cleaver tips.

    Andrea, I hope you and Alex enjoy:)

    -E

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  8. I'm really tempted to try this,
    it sounds so easy, and I looooove pickles!

    the last photo is really beautiful!

    I've always wanted to ask what kind of camera/lens you're using?

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  9. Hey M., It really is an easy recipe and very customizable, too.
    I am a Canon girl - I usually use a 5DMarkII but mine got moldy inside after being in Bali. So my baby is being repaired. Now I am using a 7D and usually my beloved 50mm 1.4 lens.
    Did you come to do any Chez Panisse b-day activities?
    -E

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  10. I almost bought you that cookbook! Those pickles look amaaaaaazing!

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  11. Those jars of pickles are beautifully inspiring. How interesting that you don't put them in the fridge right after jarring them. I would have thought otherwise. But good to know, especially for someone like me who tends to be a can-o-phobe! ;)

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  12. Anonymous, is that you Ames? xxxooo

    Carolyn, I totally get your canning phobia - that's why Paul is in charge of that realm at our house. But don't be scared of this lacto-fermentation preserving... it's so easy that kids can do it:)

    -E

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  13. E,
    This is too funny as I was going to post a pickle recipe for those who can. Love the pictures. This is so simple I have to try this. Talk about the same wave length, but you always beat me to it. I am really starting to get into fermentation as it is so good for you too.

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  14. The grape leaf trick has me excite to try pickles again. I canned a batch last year, but I think pickles often lose their crunchiness when put into a water-bath canning process.

    Three cheers for still-crunchy pickles!

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  15. Hey Oli - Here's to same wave lengths, healthy fermentation, and good eats!

    Emma, yeah I thought that grape leaf trick was a good one. Let me know what you think, if you give it a try. And I'll second your cheers for crunchy pickles:)

    Have a great weekend all,
    Erin

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  16. Wonderful photos. I haven't tried making my own pickles but I do enjoy gram's homemade pickles. Maybe this year I will get brave and give it a try.

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  17. How easy is this! I could not believe it when I read the book. As with so many of these sorts of kitchen basics, the doing is much, much easier than the worrying. I love the photos, as always.

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  18. Gherkins are my favorite savory along side of a sandwich. I've been meaning to make my own.

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  19. Jackie, give em a try. Does Gram have a recipe? I bet it is awesome!

    P, thanks cutie:)

    Julie, a pickle really is the perfect side kick for a good sammie. And making your own is almost too easy:) I hope you give it a try.

    Thanks,
    E

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  20. I'm sure it will gonna be a part of my pickle preparation list.

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  21. Thanks Karen!

    myfudo, I hope you have a good time pickling:)

    -Erin

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  22. I'm so curious to try these, I have never had cucumber pickles without vinegar before! Beautiful photos, esp the shot of the dill

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  23. OMG! This looks so pretty. Your photos are always so amazing. I really need to get on the pickling this season! My time is almost up!

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  24. Hey Stephanie, I know isn't the non-vinegar thing interesting? The idea of pickles made with all that good bacteria (like those in yogurt) made this technique all the more appealing to me.

    Adrianna, Thanks! We are in a preserving frenzy around here. I guess we just don't want summer (and all it's bounty) to end!

    -E

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  25. Looks delicious, the photo is amazingly beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. I just made a similar recipe this past weekend and my husband thought I was nuts leaving them out for 2 days! They turned out delicious. Love your picture!

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  27. Thanks Elle Marie!

    FamilySpice, So cool that you did this technique as well and I'm so happy to hear it worked out! I am such a fan of these simple traditional ways of preserving. It's amazing how easy delicious things can be.

    -E

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  28. I've never tried this type of pickling, but I'd love to attempt it. Does it matter what temperature the room is where the jars sit? Our house is a little warm during the summer heat.

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  29. Hey Lisa,
    This is a fun recipe for total novices. Yes,the temp of your house will make a big difference. The warmer the ambient temp, the quicker the fermentation. You may be done after just a couple of days.
    Let me know how it goes!
    Erin

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  30. Hi, great site! Just wanted to let you know that a website called omgnom.com is using this post, without any credit to you. I found out about them because they have used dozens of our posts without our permission, and have been removing watermarks from our photos. Have a good day!

    ReplyDelete

So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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