Monday, September 2, 2013

In a Pickle

Ever since I was really young, I've loved sour or tart tasting things. My Mom used to get me a lemon when we would go to the grocery store. She'd prick it open, give it to me, and I'd suck the juices out while she pushed me in the cart. She tells me that the other shoppers would look at her like she was crazy or somehow forcing me to do this. To this day, I still love to cut a lemon in half and eat it like an orange.

I have developed a penchant for other sour foods as well. Take kombucha, for instance. I'll let me batches ferment to the point where pretty much all of the sugar is used up and the beverage becomes fairly vinegary in taste. Ever since I've started making kumbucha and sauerkraut, I've wanted to further delve into the realm of fermented goodness. I took a little inspiration from what the public market had to offer and found the next item to add to my ferment list:

Fermented Dill Pickles

  • small cucumbers, cut off the ends and cut each in half
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • sprigs of dill
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • peppercorns
  • red chili flakes, optional
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • Place 1-2 garlic cloves, some peppercorns, red chili flakes, and a few sprigs, of dill, into a glass pint jar.
  • Stuff the cucumbers into the jar until they are packed in.
  • Combine the salt and water in a glass and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  • Pour the salt water into the jar until it covers the cucumbers.
  • Top the jar with another sprig or two of dill. Top these with two quarters of onion so that they are holding the cucumbers under the liquid.
  • Put the top on the jar and screw it on. You don't want to screw it on too tightly, a little bit of air needs to get in.
  • Set the jar in a cool, dry place and let the cucumbers ferment for 3-7 days, until they reach your desired level of sourness. Know that the longer you let them ferment, they'll get more sour, but they'll also get softer.
These not quite as sour as ones you might pick up at the store, as there's no vinegar in the mix. Nonetheless, they're tasty! Justin, who doesn't quite share my enthusiasm for sour things, said the fermented cukes were very good. You can feel free to add other spices or herbs to the mix to create other flavors of pickles.

I never thought it would be so easy to make pickles or any other fermented thing. It's really quite simple! You get all the benefits of the good bacteria in the fermenting process and some tasty vittles. If anyone wants to know more about this, you should check out Fermented, by Jill Ciciarelli. I've got this book on my wish list and am anxious to buy it/check out the recipes.

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