Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crock Pickles

Cucumber season is nearing an end for us but we are still working our way through the pickle lexicon. Here's one called "Gram's Crock Pickles" that I like for a semi-sweet tang. I also like that you can use somewhat larger than usual cucumbers for these pickles and remove the seeds. Somehow a few cukes manage to avoid detection and grow bigger than we would like. Use them here.

This is another recipe from "Pickled" by Lucy Norris. These are similar to the mustard pickles we wrote about earlier, a recipe some people objected to because it calls for artificial sweetener. Note the cloudiness of the brine from powdered mustard. These pickles are a bit less sweet and more full flavored, owing to a generous use of cider vinegar.

To make 3 quarts:

3 pounds pickling cucumbers
4 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup pickling salt (or sea salt without additives)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered mustard

Trim both ends from cucumbers. Cut cucumbers into quarters (spears) and scoop out seeds. Tightly pack cucumbers into clean quart jars.

In a non-reactive bowl, mix vinegar, salt, sugar and powdered mustard. Pour brine over cucumbers to cover and screw on lids. Let pickles rest for at least 2 days, or until the cucumbers turn from green to brown. Store in refrigerator.

The pickles will be ready to eat after a few days. Don't be afraid to test one as your appetite mounts. According to Norris, they will stay crisp for a month, but will remain edible for six months. If you were careful to remove the blossom end of the cucumbers they will stay crisp longer. The blossom end contains an enzyme that likes to turn pickles soft.

4 comments:

Julia said...

Thanks for all the pickle recipes! I finally have enough today to make my own batch (believe it or not, I was been eating the cucumbers as quickly as I harvest). Now if I could only remember which variety was my favorite -- you make so many good ones!

Ed Bruske said...

Julia, turns out our daughter really likes the Cajun pickles, the spiciest pickles we've made so far. My wife and I fell in love with the Hungarian sun pickles, which have a yeasty flavor to go with the garlic and dill. If you like a good corned beef sandwich, the half-sour fermented dills would be the way to go.

Katkinkate said...

I am curious about the pickling liquid. Can it be re-used or do you throw it out after you've eaten all the cucumbers? If you can't re-use it, is it really an efficient way to store cucumbers for later use? Wouldn't buying the pickling ingredients add up over the years and how can you safely discard all that acid (vinegar) without polluting the local waterways or soil.

Ed Bruske said...

No, Kat, you don't re-use the pickling liquid. I'm not a chemist, but I know that vinegar volatilizes. Eventually it becomes inert, meaning you don't have to lose sleep worrying that pickling liquid is going to be the end of the environment as we know it.