Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pickle Experiment

Sometimes we can wait forever for the "perfect" circumstances to try something new. But sometimes we have to just do it, sub-par circumstances and all.

 I decided I wanted to make pickles.  But no-I didn't grow the cucumbers myself (though they are organic) and no-they are not a "pickling cucumber" variety.  I'm limited by my market. Since I was already experimenting in making them I figured why not make the whole venture a kitchen science project?  I've heard some tips on how to make crunchy pickles, so I figured I'd try them all at once.

I used the pickle recipe from Food in Jars-- lowering garlic gloves to one per jar and red pepper to a pinch per jar. And then I made my four test groups.  The first two jars were filled with cucumbers and brine and put right in the refrigerator. I've heard that refrigerator pickles have the best texture, but I'm not sure I have room for a year supply of pickles in my fridge. 

Then I processed three jars in a water bath canner. In the first one I placed a grape leaf.  In the second I placed an oak leaf.  And in the third I placed nothing extra--it was my "control group."

I've read about the grape leaf and oak leaf having tannins that help keep the pickles crispy.  I don't know about the science behind that--I just want to see the end result.  Are the pickles crispy or not?

My Dad said that he can remember when his mom or his grandma would make pickles they used to put grape leaves in.  Of course they were making fermented pickles not "instant pickles" as he called my venture.  Not exactly "instant" but after a week our two we'll have to have a pickle tasting party and test our results.  

One day I'll grow a bushel of my own cucumbers to pickle.  Meanwhile I'm practicing my skills so that if  when that day arrives I'll be able to make the most of it.   And one day I may even try making pickles in a crock just like my dad remembers. 

2 comments:

Anna and Stephen said...

Wow! I'm impressed! I've never heard those different tips for keeping the pickles crisp. I hope you'll post the winner of the crispy pickle contest! So fun!

Anonymous said...

And where are the eggs?
~Jeremy

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