Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jewish Half Sour Pickles

I got my weekly Bountiful Baskets email earlier this week and decided to participate - they had pickling cucumbers and I was craving Chompies half-sours!  So...I did.  I got a lot of really good stuff this week.  Lots of good herbs, fruit, veggies, yummy goodness!
I was up and out the door by 6:45 and on my way to go get my veggie basket and my crate of cukes...all 36 pounds of them!
After dropping off the goods at home, Melon Man and I ran some errands and grabbed some breakfast grub. Then we headed home. I was excited to get going on my pickles. As I working on the pickles, I kept thinking about my mom and how today is the sixth anniversary of her death. She loved pickles. I used to help her make pickles in the summer. So, today, this was the perfect activity to remember her by.

Here is how I made them....(I found the recipe online but I don't remember where now to give credit where credit is due!)

While you’re gathering and measuring and grinding and chopping all the goodness that goes into making these, let your cukes soak in a sink full of ice cold water. And be sure to snip off any little stem parts that are still attached (both ends). The stems are very bitter and can ruin an otherwise great batch of pickles.
Gather up all the ingredients you'll need...

2/3 tsp. whole coriander seeds
2/3 tsp. brown mustard seeds
4 whole allspice
2/3 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 tsp. black pepper corns
1/2 tsp. dill seeds
3-4 Tbsp. dill weed
5-6 pieces broken dried bay leaf
8-12 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pickling salt
8 cups water
8-10 pickling cukes

The amount of salt, and the other ingredients, will, of course, depend on the size of your pickle jar. So all my measurements are based on my jar. You’ll need to adjust based on your jar.  I used a 1/2 gallon PETE container.

Add the salt to the water and let it dissolve. Set it aside.

Grind up the dry ingredients, but don’t turn it to dust. You just want to release some of the flavors. I used a pepper grinder on coarse grind and it worked great.
Then, I poured it all into the water.
The salt and garlic will be providing most of the noticeable flavor for your pickles, so getting the garlic quantity right is a critical step. Keep in mind that smaller cloves are often more strongly flavored than large ones. If your garlic cloves are the size of your thumb, use 10-12.
When you pack your cukes into your jar, try to leave an inch or two of headroom above the pickles. If the pickles are not completely covered in the brine, they’ll just rot, so push and shove a little to get them in with some room to spare.

In the [blurry] pictures below, I made two batches, one in a bowl and the other in a PETE container. One, I poured the seasonings in the water, the other just on top of the cukes before pouring in the water. I'm sure you catch my drift...
When the pickles are packed, pour in the seasonings, the chopped garlic, the dill weed, the bay leaf, and anything else you decided not to grind earlier. Then fill the jar with the salt water, right up to the top.

Now they get to sit. Do not tighten the lid while the pickles are sitting. You want the natural airborne beasties to get into the jar and help the pickles start to ferment. Leave them at room temperature for at least 24 – 48 hours – and then screw that cap on tight and put them in the refrigerator. Oh, and be sure to put a little dish under the jar while fermenting. Some of the brine is guaranteed to spill out as the fermentation gets going; catching it in the dish is better than wiping it off the table!

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Mmmm! Now, are these the light green ones from Chompies????

And yes! Your mom made the best pickles.