Saturday, March 1, 2014

PIckle Me This

Bubble bubble toil and trouble.
All of these pickles use about a 3% saline brine (97% water, 3% sodium chloride), roughly 2-3 teaspoons of kosher salt per cup of filtered water.

The jars are left at room temperature for several days up to several months.*

Airborne yeast and saline tolerant bacteria will be present on the surface of any vegetable you want to pickle and show activity within a few days (the water will begin to get cloudy and sealed jars will release carbon dioxide when opened).

I fill a re-sealable sandwich bag with additional saline solution to keep the surface of the pickle submerged under the solution, as exposed vegetable will invite mold.

I am using sterilized glass jars (Fido of Italy) with glass lids and rubber gaskets on metal hinges.

What follows is a gallery of a few pickles I have in varying stages of readiness, followed by some brief notes.

Stay tuned, there's more to come.


#1 - Green cabbage, pineapple, jalapeño & fresh oregano.

Culture - saline + natural airborne bugs.

Salt cabbage to taste, pound or mash cabbage until it starts to sweat.

Add pineapple, jalapeño and oregano.

Fill with saline - 3% brine (2-3 tsp / 1 cup water).

Add a re-sealable bag of saline to weigh down the exposed cabbage and keep submerged (use a large cabbage leaf for the cap).

Minimum 7 days up to 6 months, aged in a glass jar with a glass lid, rubber gasket and metal hinge.

(Fido jars from Italy.)


#2 - Radish Kimchee with Napa Cabbage.

Large Napa cabbage,
6 cloves of garlic,
10 radishes (or Daikon),
1/2 cup of nam pla,
3 tsp - 1 tbsp of hot cayenne powder,

Squeeze cabbage, add the rest, pack down until liquid comes to top and then submerge with saline bag in a glass lidded glass jar.

Age for at least 2 weeks up to 6 months or longer (refreshing with fresh cabbage).


#3 - Sauerkraut.

Green cabbage, mash. Yellow onion. 1:1 head to bulb ratio.

Fennel seeds.



#4 - Pickled onions.

Onions and dill with chile flakes.


#5 - Pickled carrots with ginger.

Pickles and ginger with smoked Japanese chiles.

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* Apparently there is a bit of controversy over whether or not it is a good idea to kickstart a pickle with any kind of saved mother. A common starter is whey-based kefir grains that contain yeast and bacteria, however these can be aggressive in breaking down cellulose in vegetables, leaving you with mushy pickles.