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Monday, July 29, 2013

In a Pickle!

Every summer I dally with pickling, usually cukes... though there was that period that I was obsessed with the perfect chow-chow... then there was the crabapple ketchup. This summer, I'm giving half sour pickles another go. My pickle muse and guide is a blog I have been following for a while called Nourishing Days. Shannon also blogs for Cultures for Health.

So I was inspired by Shannon to try half sours again. My last experiment started to scare me when the pickling liquids turned cloudy and formed a "scum". By the way, as a Southerner, I know about vinegar based pickling, which requires boiling water baths for canning- cloudy and scum equals tossing out food or becoming very sick. Historically half sours are not tackled in the south, because it is so hot that they "sour" quickly. But as the south is typically air conditioned indoors, I'm going with it.

I decided to keep the small batch (one jar) of pickles next to the air conditioning vent- cold and relatively dark. I am growing two kinds of cucumbers in the garden, so both are in the jar for the first harvest. You can find great recipes with measurements at Cultures for Health, so I will not need to reproduce their recipe here. I used the one that required tree leaves for crispness- I went with oak from the front yard and washed them carefully!

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Here is my pictorial essay of the pickling process. By the way, I tried them after about a week and they were delish. Thanks, Shannon!

Cukes, salt, dill, peeled garlic, peppercorns, red pepper flakes and some little oak leaves on my favorite cutting board.

Layering the herbs in the bottom of the quart jar.

Last layer. Topping the cukes with dill, oak leaves, peppercorns and red pepper flakes.

Pouring the brine.

Lovely jar of future pickles!

So, cucumbers, dill, and oak leaves from the yard/ garden, peppercorns and red pepper flakes from Penseys, garlic from the store... future crunchy pickles, indeed!

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