Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Real Pickles

Not long ago, I reviewed a product called Kraut Source, and to do the review I made sauerkraut using the device. Later, they sent me a copy of the Kraut Source Recipe Book which includes 26 recipes for fermenting and for using the fermented foods.

Since I had fresh pickling cucumbers from the farmer's market, I decided to make pickles using one of the recipes in the book. These are the old-fashioned brined pickles that ferment naturally. No vinegar needed.

You can sometimes find this sort of pickle at delis in large jars, or sometimes they're available in jars at the grocery store - they're the ones you'll find refrigerated.

But they're pretty simple to make if you have some patience. It takes a week or more for the pickles to ferment, but you don't really need to do much during that time.

The good thing about the Kraut source and the book I got is that the recipes are for fermenting small batches, right in a canning jar. So you don't need to have a lot of space for fermenting or for storing the pickles later. You can make a batch, taste, and then adjust the flavors for the next batch.

If you decide you want to buy yourself a Kraut Source, the recipe book is a good, particularly if you've never worked with fermented foods before. If you don't get the book, you can still use the Kraut Source since there are recipes in the small booklet that comes with the device, and other recipes on the website. And of course, there are other fermenting recipe that you could use.

Oh, and if the pickles in that jar look dark, it's because it's a purple canning jar.

If you want to know more about the product, here's the review.

Real Pickles
Adapted from Kraut Source Recipe Book

2 1/2 cups filtered water
1-2 tablespoons sea salt
6-8 pickling cucumbers (to fit jar)
2 sprigs fresh dill (I used dried)
1 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard seeds (I used brown)
1/4 onion, thinly sliced (I skipped this; I'm not sure why)
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled (I used three)
1 rounded teaspoon green tea leaves (I used one teabag of green tea)

Bring the water to a boil, add the salt, and let it cool completely.

Put the dill, mustard seeds, onion, garlic, and tea leaves into a clean 1-quart jar. Trim 1/4 inch off the blossom end of the cucumbers and pack them into the jar. It's fine to cut pickles in half to get them to fit in the jar. I only managed to get five pickles into the jar - four standing upright and the fifth one cut in half to fit on top.

Pour the cooled brine into the jar until the pickles are covered by about an inch of liquid.

Place the Kraut Source on the jar. Put the cap on and add water to the moat.

Allow the pickles to ferment out of direct sunlight for 7-10 days, or until the pickles reach your desired taste. Remove the Kraut Source and place a standard lid on the jar for storage. (I like the plastic lids.) Refrigerate the jar.

The Kraut Source book had two recipes for using the brine - a pickle-brined chicken recipe, and a cultured mayonnaise. I haven't tried either one yet, but the pickled-brined chicken sounds like it would be pretty awesome.