Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pickles Done

After six days fermenting in a salt brine with garlic and dill my cucumber pickles were done. As you can see, they've lost they're bright green color and have turned a sort of olive. I had been tasting them almost daily since I put them in the brine, and they'd reached just the point doneness I was looking for: pickled, but still crisp.

Quick, I transferred the pickles from the bucket in which they'd been fermenting and moved them to a quart-size plastic container and put them in the refrigerator.

They won't last like this forever. The bacteria, although slowed to a crawl, will continue to munch on them. But for the moment, they are delicious and just a bit crunchy, the kind of pickle you would find at the best Jewish delicatessen. I'm glad we made a small batch, because we will have no problem finishing these pickles before they can go bad. In fact, we are eating some just about every day.

While we are on the subject of pickles, I got out my pickles file and found an article from Washingtonian magazine in which the writer was trying to recreate the pickles once served at Duke Ziebart's restaurant. Duke's was the kind of place where everyone in Washington went to be seen. The food was fairly simple. Apparently the pickles were memorable. Turns out, the recipe the author settled on was very much like the one I used here, except that it included some vinegar in the brine. So when I transferred the pickles into the plastic container, I added a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar, which does mellow the saltiness a little and adds some fruity flavor.

We still have lots of cucumbers and more on the way. In the coming days, we'll be trying a number of different pickling methods. Refrigerator pickles, canned pickles, bread and butter pickles. Do you have any favorite pickling recipes you'd like to share?

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