Thursday, July 31, 2014

CLCA Day 20 and More Fun with Fermentation!

"Cyd's Low-Carb Adventure," Day 20
Cyd is still not yet back to fighting strength, so I have another rather boring report.

Breakfast: Berry Smoothie with Almond Milk and Chia Seeds
Lunch: Popcorn (ugh)
Dinner: Turkey, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwich on a Whole Wheat Tortilla
Dessert: Local Strawberries with Whipped Cream

As I was freed from cooking duties for another day, I turned my attention to a second pickling project: traditional kosher dill pickles made by fermentation rather than brining in vinegar and canning. (I am trying to simulate the awesome ones that I bought from Po'Boys & Pickles in Portland, ME.) One peck of small Kirby cukes produced THREE GALLONS (or rather, six half-gallons) of pickles which are now hanging out in the laundry room, aka The Fermentation Station--for at least a week and up to three! I hope my nerves can handle the wait and the stress.

Note: This recipe is based on one from my friend Ron Nolland's grandmother. His methodology is to leave the jars on the counter for just two days and then into the fridge. But I prefer a more sour pickle. So I almost doubled the salt in his recipe, hoping to be able to get more room temperature fermentation time before the pickles get transfered to cold storage. We shall see. It's all a big experiment. (Maybe I should have just done a half peck then, huh? Tee hee. Oh well, I like to live on the edge!)

Fermented Kosher Dills

1/2 peck of small pickling cukes
1 gallon (non-chlorinated) water
2/3 cup canning salt (or sea salt)

In each half gallon jar (you'll get three):
2 grape leaves, washed
4 large (or 6 smaller) garlic cloves, peeled
10 peppercorns
1 teaspoon pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 heads of fresh dill
18-22 small (pre-soaked) cucumbers, blossom end removed

Scrub cucumbers with a brush and remove the blossom end. Soak in cold water in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, bring the water and salt to a boil, then let cool. Meanwhile, prepare your jars that have been washed in hot, soapy water. Place a grape leaf in the bottom, along with half of the garlic and spices, and one head of dill. Pack in the (drained) cukes, then add the rest of the garlic, spices, and the other head of dill.

Fill the jars with cooled brine, leaving at least one inch of head room. Add the other grape leaf on top. Fill three small baggies with some of the leftover brine and weight down the pickles. (Or use a smaller glass jar, lid or disk, or a sterilized stone as a weight if you prefer.)

Let the pickles ferment on the counter (on a lined tray or plastic tub) for five to seven days, then taste one. Keep fermenting (up to three weeks) until sufficiently sour. The brine should bubble and turn cloudy. If any mold forms, just scrape it off and discard. Add additional brine if necessary. When the pickles are sour enough to your liking, remove the brine baggies, cap the jars, and store in the fridge (for months).

Follow-Up (8/7/14): It's been a week since I started fermenting the kosher dills, and I sampled one tonight. They are DELICIOUS, and they were already about 3/4 sour, so I called them "done" and moved them into the garage fridge. I am SO proud! 

Additional Note: If you try this method, and at the end, you miss the distinctive tang of vinegar, try adding a couple of tablespoons of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to the jar after the pickles are done with their room temperature fermentation. Bragg's is a live/cultured product, so you won't be interefering with all that probiotic goodness that you waited a week or more to develop. :-)


Crazy Garden Chick said...

Oh nice!!! Tell me about these bags at the top of the jars?? What do you fill them with? Water? Beans? rocks?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Brine...just in case the baggie springs a leak!