Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wild Pickles

I harvested enough pickling cukes this morning to make another batch of pickles. The one I have going are from my family recipe which uses 1 part cider vinegar to 4 parts brine and it makes a fine pickle but isn't actually a true pickle because of the vinegar. True pickles are made with just a brine and natural fermentation. This latest batch is an attempt at true pickles and I turned to fermentation guru Sandor Katz and his recipe for old fashioned sour pickles. You can find the recipe, if your interested, on his web site Wild Fermentation. I remember my grandmother and mother using vinegar in their naturally fermented dill pickles but I also seem to remember my great-grandmother using nothing but brine and she was the one who had the big barrels and the root cellar. She was a master at "putting by" food from the summer to have all winter and I am really eager to see if this new batch of pickles triggers that pickle taste memory from so so long ago.

Nowadays about the only place you can find "true" sour pickles is in the Jewish areas of New York where pickle masters still serve the local population. There are no pickles available in the markets today that aren't quick pickles made with vinegar and brine and  that is understandable since natural fermentation takes time and can be quite fickle depending upon temperature and other things. We'll see what happens.

I am a little concerned that these are going to be too salty for my taste since they use a 5.4% brine and my family recipe is more like 3% but you never know until you try. If they are too salty I may try a batch using less salt and see if I can get a successful fermentation.

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