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Pickle Recipes


PollyG
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Does anyone have a beloved pickle recipe book they could recommend? We have a serious half-sour and kosher dill monkey on our backs at home and are convinced that we could be making our own.

Go for it! It's really very simple. If you go back to the blog archives, I talked about and showed photos of kosher dill pickle-making in the blog I did here a few years ago. Half-sours are the same as kosher dills, they are just not fully fermented.

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Got our first pickling cucumbers from the garden this week. Have a crock and we were going to make fermented spicy crock pickles from "The Joy of Pickling". Only problem is the grape leaves.... not really something I've seen around, at least fresh. Don't have a cherry tree available either. From "Wild Fermentation", you should be able to use Oak leaves, has anybody tried this substitution?

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Got our first pickling cucumbers from the garden this week. Have a crock and we were going to make fermented spicy crock pickles from "The Joy of Pickling". Only problem is the grape leaves.... not really something I've seen around, at least fresh. Don't have a cherry tree available either. From "Wild Fermentation", you should be able to use Oak leaves, has anybody tried this substitution?

Just FYI to whoever might have the same question later, the pickles finished over the 4th of July weekend, and I did use oak leaves. They were crisp and delicious (and gone), so oak leaves seem to be a good substitute. I have another batch in the crock now.

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Does anyone have a good recipe for bread and butter pickles that they can share (ones that aren't super sweet)? I only wish I could convince the pickle vendor at Riverdale to give me his, but I am guessing he keeps it top secret (even if he doesn't, I can never make it down there anymore due to meetings).

One other quick question - I have been using leftover pint and quart plastic takeout containers for the little pickling I do. Does anyone see a problem with long term storage using these? Should I spend money on glass jars?

Thanks,

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Does anyone have a good recipe for bread and butter pickles that they can share (ones that aren't super sweet)? I only wish I could convince the pickle vendor at Riverdale to give me his, but I am guessing he keeps it top secret (even if he doesn't, I can never make it down there anymore due to meetings).

One other quick question - I have been using leftover pint and quart plastic takeout containers for the little pickling I do. Does anyone see a problem with long term storage using these? Should I spend money on glass jars?

Thanks,

I have a recipe for bread & butter pickles that calls for brown sugar & dry mustard. Will post the recipe when I get home tonight.

I second (third?) the recommendation to invest in some glass jars.

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Believe it or not, this microwave bread and butter pickles recipe from the Washington Post a couple of years ago works pretty well.

I find it a little odd in that recipe that it says if you don't do the canning procedure you can store the pickles in the refrigerator for up to ten days. Really? I've kept home-made bread and butter pickles in unsealed jars in the fridge for up to two years, and they were still fine. Why wouldn't they be?

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I find it a little odd in that recipe that it says if you don't do the canning procedure you can store the pickles in the refrigerator for up to ten days. Really? I've kept home-made bread and butter pickles in unsealed jars in the fridge for up to two years, and they were still fine. Why wouldn't they be?

Along these lines, I guess I should have specified that I only got enough cukes to fill a quart or two so I did plan on keeping them in the fridge, hence my question about the containers. I was thinking in terms of months, not years. If glass is still advised, I do have some glass jars and can invest in more. I would actually like to start doing some preserving - but baby steps. :)

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there were nice little pickling cukes at Eli Cook's stand at the Dupont Market yesterday. I made one large jar's worth of kosher dills (we don't seem to eat very many of them, and storage is an issue). Rather than let them ferment on the back porch, given how hot it's going to be this week, I put the jar straight into the fridge. I figure in 10 days or so (maybe less), I'll have half sours. Nom.

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I am going to make bread and butter pickles tonight with some lemon cukes I got at the market, along with some pickled okra and some fermented long beans. I had trouble finding any good pickling cukes (or really any cukes at all) at the market this week. Am I too late, is the season over? I'd like to do some whole dills before the end of the summer.

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Question: I pickled my okra last night and for my first time canning, I think things went smoothly. I do have one concern though, which is that given the size/shape of my okra, I wasn't able to pack the jars completely and in several of them, I may have had just a little too little liquid. So basically, the okra floats to the top, meaning a little bit sticks out of the liquid near the cap. Is this dangerous in any way? I actually ended up with 4 pint jars and I was concerned that I had overfilled one of them, but of course that one is perfect and the other 3 are slightly underfilled. :(

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Question: I pickled my okra last night and for my first time canning, I think things went smoothly. I do have one concern though, which is that given the size/shape of my okra, I wasn't able to pack the jars completely and in several of them, I may have had just a little too little liquid. So basically, the okra floats to the top, meaning a little bit sticks out of the liquid near the cap. Is this dangerous in any way? I actually ended up with 4 pint jars and I was concerned that I had overfilled one of them, but of course that one is perfect and the other 3 are slightly underfilled. :(

Not dangerous, but you may get discoloration where the okra is out of the brine. You can try turning the jars upside down for storage. Sometimes this will help the brine cover everything.

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Not dangerous, but you may get discoloration where the okra is out of the brine. You can try turning the jars upside down for storage. Sometimes this will help the brine cover everything.

Yeah, when I turned them, then only the tips stuck out. I figured I would store one way for a while, then flip. :( Thanks.

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Yeah, when I turned them, then only the tips stuck out. I figured I would store one way for a while, then flip. :( Thanks.

I've done the same thing. :) Last time I made pickled okra (for my Mom - I'm not a huge fan), I packed them stem down in the jar, then squashed more tip down in between the others. They stayed in place pretty well.

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I've done the same thing. :( Last time I made pickled okra (for my Mom - I'm not a huge fan), I packed them stem down in the jar, then squashed more tip down in between the others. They stayed in place pretty well.

Now see, that is smart thinking. Thanks for that, I will be sure to do it that way next time.

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We finally made our first batch of half-sours earlier this week and devoured them rapidly. After a consultation with my grandmother-in-law, who helped run an inn in Poland as a girl, we added another batch of cukes to the same brine. Is anyone else refreshing their pickle jar this way? I did some searching on the 'net and couldn't find any references to refreshing the pickle barrel, perhaps because pickling used to be done once a year at harvest time, not in conjunction with our extended produce seasons.

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I haven't bought any at Rodman's recently, because I have been eating ones I made myself. I think the Ba-Tampte jars are bigger than quart-sized. But if you are using an old Ba-Tampte jar to make your own pickles, put a third teaspoon of salt in. If the pickles seem too salty, pour off some of the brine and fill the jar with clear filtered water and that will slightly desalinate the pickles. ( I probably put slightly heaping teaspoons of salt in, when I make them.)

Thank you, Zora, for nudging me to make these myself. My attempt to make half-sour pickles succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, and it really is as easy as you suggested, so I would encourage others to do likewise. I started the pickles on Saturday, and enjoyed the first one today, and it was all I wanted such a pickle to be. Served beside a ham sandwich with Emmentaler cheese and tomato.
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Thank you, Zora, for nudging me to make these myself. My attempt to make half-sour pickles succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, and it really is as easy as you suggested, so I would encourage others to do likewise. I started the pickles on Saturday, and enjoyed the first one today, and it was all I wanted such a pickle to be. Served beside a ham sandwich with Emmentaler cheese and tomato.

Well done, Herschele! Your Mama would be proud of you, as I am. Lots of things like this are simple to do yourself--you just gotta take a little time out, gather the materials, and go for it. But really now--your first homemade half-sour pickle eaten with a HAM sandwich? They need, at least, a trial with corned beef, pastrami, chopped liver. Even egg salad. You can't truly tell how authentic the taste is, when you're eating it with such a goyish sandwich, boychick... :mellow:
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Well done, Herschele! Your Mama would be proud of you, as I am. Lots of things like this are simple to do yourself--you just gotta take a little time out, gather the materials, and go for it. But really now--your first homemade half-sour pickle eaten with a HAM sandwich? They need, at least, a trial with corned beef, pastrami, chopped liver. Even egg salad. You can't truly tell how authentic the taste is, when you're eating it with such a goyish sandwich, boychick... :mellow:

Although I may have a sort of Yiddish-sounding name, I am, in fact, a thoroughgoing (and unapologetic) WASP, irretrievably wedded to the ham sandwich and other goyishe chazerai, although at least I don't refer to ham as "gammon". I also don't actually address my mother as "Mater", but it's a close-run thing. On the other hand, I have some nice pastrami in the fridge, and I'll probably have a sandwich of that with a half-sour tomorrow. Thanks again for the guidance!
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Rodman's Friendship Heights is where I usually get them. If you are adventurous in the kitchen, you might try making your own, now that it is possible to find small Kirby cukes at local farmers' markets. Put a teaspoon of kosher (or un-iodized) salt in the bottom of a clean quart jar. Add a few cloves of garlic and a bay leaf. rinse the cukes and pack them standing up as tightly as you can, add another teaspoon of salt and a few sprigs of fresh dill to the top of the jar, fill the jar with filtered water tighten the lid, and rotate the jar to melt and distribute the salt. partially unscrew the top, sit the jar in a small bowl and put it in your refrigerator. In two or three days, you can start eating them as half-sours. They will ferment very slowly in the refrigerator, so they will probably remain half rather than turning into full-sours by the time you finish the jar. It's important to use small cukes and pack them tightly or they'll get mushy rather than staying crisp.

I'm a true believer in this recipe and it really couldn't be simpler. It is highly unlikely that I will buy any commercial half-sours if pickling cucumbers are available. I made the first batch on Sunday. Last night they were good. Today they border on fantastic. I made another two quarts up last night. I'm apparently on a half-sour binge.

Zora's recipe is spot on for a quart mason jar. In both attempts I totally forgot the bay leaf, but my dill addition is probably more than "a few sprigs."

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I'm a true believer in this recipe and it really couldn't be simpler. It is highly unlikely that I will buy any commercial half-sours if pickling cucumbers are available. I made the first batch on Sunday. Last night they were good. Today they border on fantastic. I made another two quarts up last night. I'm apparently on a half-sour binge.

Zora's recipe is spot on for a quart mason jar. In both attempts I totally forgot the bay leaf, but my dill addition is probably more than "a few sprigs."

I also put some fresh dill in the bottom of the jar sometimes, before putting the cukes in. Occasionally I add some other pickling spices besides garlic and bay leaf: a couple of whole allspice berries, a small dried red chile,coriander and mustard seeds. Really, the only must haves are garlic and fresh dill...

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I also put some fresh dill in the bottom of the jar sometimes, before putting the cukes in. Occasionally I add some other pickling spices besides garlic and bay leaf: a couple of whole allspice berries, a small dried red chile,coriander and mustard seeds. Really, the only must haves are garlic and fresh dill...

Forgive my ignorance here, but because they are not "put up", there is no need to do the whole sterilization thing, right?

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36 4 oz. jars of brown sugar/ginger bread & butter pickles put up for a picnic wedding reception. I tweaked a standard bread & butter by subbing brown sugar for the half the white, adding ground ginger, and put a slice of fresh ginger and a slice of fresh red chili in the bottom of each jar. I also used tiny, blanched yellow onions instead of slices. They taste great and look very pretty.

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Okay Zora, or anyone else who'd like to chime in: I've finished my last batch of half-sour pickles, and have a fresh supply of pickling cucumbers. Should I re-use the brine from the previous batch, which I've kept refrigerated? I'm inclined to do so, but is there a down-side to it, like certain death? Or bad pickles, more likely?

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Once you've made a batch of pickles the brine they are sitting in has been diluted by the water that was drawn out of the cukes' cells. Theoretically if you added a bit more salt to the old brine you could reuse it I suppose but I think you 'd run a risk of off -tastes or slimy pickles. I'd start fresh. Isn't there some cocktail that calls for a bit of pickle brine?

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Okay Zora, or anyone else who'd like to chime in: I've finished my last batch of half-sour pickles, and have a fresh supply of pickling cucumbers. Should I re-use the brine from the previous batch, which I've kept refrigerated? I'm inclined to do so, but is there a down-side to it, like certain death? Or bad pickles, more likely?

Definitely start with fresh brine. The used brine is dilute and could possibly result in spoilage, and the spices won't be fresh.

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Only a fool would ignore the advice of both Zora and Heather. I've put up a fresh batch of pickles, using fresh brine with all the same ingredients I used last time: water, salt, sliced garlic, sliced green chile, brown mustard seed, and fresh dill.

Another question: you know those little cucumbers that have appeared in the supermarkets recently? They always come pre-packaged in sets of four or five, on those little styrofoam trays covered in plastic. They have a brand name like "Sunset Farm" or something vaguely like that. They're small, but don't look anything like Kirbys. They look more like miniature versions of those shrink-wrapped "English" cucumbers, that used to be sold as "seedless". Anyone ever try them? Are they good salad cucumbers? Good pickling cucumbers? I would have tried them if they didn't force you to buy several, as they're never sold loose as far as I've seen.

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