Well, the first jar of fermented pickles was an epic fail, but this second batch was almost perfect. Still a few softer spots on some so maybe the salt ratio was not perfect. At first, after opening the special fermentation lids I purchased from Amazon and finding the top of the water covered with white stuff, I panicked. I again spent time looking things up on-line and apparently this is not unusual. You just use a spoon and paper towel to wipe the top off and then put the jar in the sink and fill it with more filtered water and the mold rises to the top and runs out. And you wash the lid in hot soapy water and rinse before putting it back on the jar!
We bravely tried the pickles and they tasted great! If you’ve ever had a deli pickle from those big crocks or at a restaurant like Ted’s Montana Grill where they put these pickle slices on the table, that’s what they taste like. I swear I feel better after eating them, too. They are supposed to be full of good bacteria or probiotics and will last in the fridge for quite a while, because the cold temperatures stop the fermentation process. The magazine article I read that got me interested in this said that USDA microbiologists have not reported even one case of food poisoning from properly fermented food. Now, how you know if yours is properly fermented, I’m not really sure, but if it smells okay and looks okay and tastes okay, I’m guessing that’s a good start!
Later this week I’ll be opening a jar of dilled green beans and another of corn relish so I’ll have some more pictures and let you know how those taste. And I’ll show you the jars and lids I’m using if anyone is interested in doing this. It’s pretty inexpensive and healthy and not terribly complicated, even for the kitchen challenged, like me! So far, anyway…
Do you remember I told you I was going to experiment with fermenting vegetables? Well, my first jar of fermented pickles came out very soft and weird-looking, almost like bites had been taken out of some. So needless to say, I threw them down the garbage disposal without tasting. I mean, yuk!
I really felt like a failure. There was nothing difficult about this. You put cucumbers, filtered water, some garlic, dill and salt in a jar that sits on the counter. No fancy equipment or utensils. No cooking or anything. But, you know me and the kitchen. Not my favorite room in the house!
But when I looked online for what I might have done wrong, I found that cucumbers, due to their high water content, are not necessarily the easiest veggie to ferment. Apparently green beans or carrots are the easiest. Who knew?
The problem could have been that I hadn’t added a bay leaf or horseradish leaf (or grape or even an OAK leaf) or teabag to the jar. Apparently the tannin in those leaves helps to keep the skin of the pickles crisp. I could see bay leaves or grape or horseradish leaves, but I draw the line at putting an oak leaf in something I’m going to eat!
Or it might have been not enough salt, although I did follow the recipe I had found in a magazine, which was one tablespoon of sea salt and then water to fill the quart size jar, which was about a half quart of water with the cucumbers in it. As I pushed the cucumbers down in the jar, I had to add some more water and that might have diluted the solution too much. Apparently it could have been a lot of things…
Tomorrow, the picture of success!