Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pickling - Revisted

I learned a lot on my first attempt at making fermented pickles & other veges. I hope that I can incorporate a lot of the lessons into the second go around, and maybe pass on some of the things I learned along the way.

The last time I made pickles I'm pretty sure that I didn't give them enough time for the flavors to really come together. Why do I say that you ask? Well, I just recently happened to come across a jar that I had forgotten about. So I chilled them down, and popped it open expecting the worst......but luckily there were far far better than all the previous jars we ate. The liquid had become crystal clear (all the bacteria had formed a compact layer at the bottom) and the spices had become much more incorporated into the pickle.

So for my second try I plan on letting the pickles ferment, and then waiting until the brine clears before I eat them. I also plan on adding significantly more garlic and dill (I really love both flavors) and adding some mustard seed and black peppercorns that I freshly grind to give them a bit more of a kick.

Unfortunately this time around I wasn't able to find pickling cucumbers, its a bit early in the season, I am growing some though and I hope to do a batch of pickles with all homegrown ingredients. So to satisfy my pickling itch I decided to do some other veges instead. I really love pickled brussel sprouts, green beans and carrots and luckily SWMBO does too! so this recipe is going to be a bit spicier than I would otherwise like a normal pickle.

Fermented Brussel Sprouts, Carrots and Green Beans


1. Mix up a 5% Brine Solution: 100g or ~3.5oz of non-iodized salt in 2L or ~2qt of water

2. Boil and cool this solution

3. Soak veges in ice water for ~30min - This helps to make everything nice and crispy

4. Fill jars with spices of your choice, I used the following in each 32oz jar...
2tsp - Dill seed
2tsp - Dill weed
1/8tsp - ground mustard seed
1/8tsp - ground black peppercorns
6 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf

5. Stuff the veges into the jars, and pack them very tightly. You do not want any part of the veges to be near the top of the brine solution, if they poke above bad bacteria will get into your veges and ruin the jar.

6. Cover the veges with the cooled brine, leaving a little room to add some brine from a previous batch or from a commercial fermented pickle like bubbies, and again make sure that none are above or near the top of the brine solution. If you are having trouble keeping them below the top of the liquid, use something heavy like a shot glass etc. to weigh them down (don't worry about leaving it in the liquid everything will be fine!)

7. Loosely cover if you can, if not (due to adding a weight) don't worry about it. I like to place them in a large Tupperware to catch any of the brine that might bubble over the top, while they ferment quite a bit of gas will be produced

8. Here's the tough part, stick them someplace cool (~70's) that you wont see them again for 3- 4mos. Then when you do come across them, put them in your fridge for another month or so before you begin tasting. If you let them go as long as I did you might find yourself pleasantly surprised like I was!


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