Fermented pickles recipe questions

(Joey) #41

@ctviggen Bob, perhaps you might be over-thinking this a bit? :wink:

The microscopic battle between bacteria producing the fermentation you’re after has been raging for a gazillion years and will continue long after we’re gone.

I’ve found that a few degrees higher/lower, a bit of pH higher/lower, spices first/last, this H2O vs that H2O, … it doesn’t make too much of a difference over things I can actually control. The veggies themselves (time of season, individual ripeness, etc.) has so much to do with the final outcome.

While the “science” of it tends to work itself out once the process begins, I’ve yet to produce two batches of fermented veggies that are identical, and certainly not two-in-a-row.

Each batch seems to have its own unique fingerprint - kind of like a vintage of wine. They come from the same vine, but each year has its own personality.

My free advice (overpriced): Give it your best shot and then savor whatever turns up. Try to replicate what works, but don’t be surprised if you get surprised. Enjoy! :yum:

(Butter Withaspoon) #42

Bob, have a little taste on day one, before you put the lid on. I’m not using herbs and spices so the brine really is boring on day one. I make only one kind of ferment, but as Joey says, every batch is like it’s own special wine. It’s intriguing and fun!

Every winter I make a constant supply of sunchokes ( girasole/jerusalem artichokes) in water with salt, that’s all. Although :star_struck: my latest batch has one of my chilies in it and the piquant hint of sharp heat is great

(Bob M) #43

Ah, Joey, have you met me? :wink: I was in Navy Nuclear power for 6 years, got out and got a BSEE, MSEE, and JD. I’m the epitome of an over-thinker!

So, I’m zero for two. I had looked at that recipe to make fermented Bubbies pickles and saw “1 gallon” and thought it was water. Since I have 3/8 of a gallon jar, I divided everything based on that…only to realize the gallon was the size of the jar, not the water. I added waaaaaaaaaay too much garlic and other spices. (I got the salt correct, as I saw the 1/2 gallon when I did the salt…but I’d already put in all the spices and pickles into the jar.)

Sadly, the pickles were inedible (to me – maybe someone who loves garlic would like them and I mean LOVES garlic, as the garlic flavor was intense).

The good news is that they were perfect from the standpoint of being a pickle - crunchy, perfect texture.

What I did was check them after about a week. If they still had bubbles, I let them go. Once they no longer had bubbles, I put them in the fridge.

I did order those pH strips. Will get them this week.

I just got back from vacation, and next weekend have something to do. Then, the weekend after that, we’re supposed to have people over. I hope to try a new recipe (and buy a bigger jar for pickles and try a pickle recipe too), but it might not be for a while.

(Joey) #44

Ha! You’re 'da man … I love over-thinking things too, but I’m not sure I could keep up with you.

FWIW, I’ve had great success over two years using the 1.6 gallon size of this contraption (via Amazon)…

Comes in a range of sizes, but this size lets me use a gallon jug of distilled H2O, put in all the ingredients of whatever I’m making, slip the included bubble escape hatch inside, and wait for the magic to happen.

It’s plastic so it cleans up really easily, yet it’s built like a tank compared to anything I’ve seen made in the US (this is made in Korea).

Best fermenting gear purchase I’ve made. :+1:

(Jane) #45

You guys have me on a roll! I bought a small ceramic water crock recommended from the book I bought from @SomeGuy recommendation.

I had 2 lbs of garden peppers of various heat, some molding in my fridge. I tossed the molded ones and shredded the rest in my food processor to make “pepper paste”. It takes 3 weeks. I will report back on the finished product.

(Joey) #46

@Janie Sounds great… Can’t wait to hear how this hot sour pepper paste works out! :hot_pepper:

(Butter Withaspoon) #47

If you don’t want to buy stuff, here’s an idea that works for me: I use a large jar with a stopper and remove the plastic part of the lid. The weight of the glass lid works like a one way valve. It’s Simple, and free if you ask your community to give you used jars.

(Jane) #48

That’s what I used in the past. The fermentation book recommended the water crock for longer fermentation such as peppers that take 3 weeks.

I am in “retirement mode” as far as purchasing things I know will last well past my lifetime but may not be able to afford once I retire. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Joey) #49

@Hallie I like the laurel 'n lemon theme you’ve got going there. Nice touch. :yum:

(Butter Withaspoon) #50

Thanks! :slight_smile: I like to add colour to my photos, Fermented sunchokes have little beauty. I sometimes add bay leaves to the brew and used to try lots of additions until I realised it’s the fermentation chemistry that brings the incredible flavour

Here I used leaves as a follower to hold pickles under the brine, probably raspberry. These days I use an upside down stopper from a smaller jar ( plastic removed).
The Fermentation Foodies forum here is Fantastic! Ferment On, Dudes!

(Bob M) #51

So, I bought that big container and made pickles according to the book, which I also bought. They took longer than the book said to get to the consistency I like (where they are translucent throughout), but are great.

I may try more dill next time. I used dill seed, but the dill we grew became a tree, so I did not have fresh dill.

I also lost the pH strips. It’s a tiny box, and I put it … somewhere. I have no idea where. I started tasting the pickles about 8 days into it. The first one was too cucumbery (still had a cucumber structure on the inside). I guess these were more like “half sour” pickles, whereas I like the full sours. I waited a few more days.

I also made fermented carrots with the extra brine. These are an attempt to get my kids to eat something fermented. It hasn’t worked yet.

One thing I don’t like about the book is they basically demand you use fine sea salt. I have pickling salt, which is only salt and nothing else. That’s what I used, but there is nothing in the book to tell me ratios. Many times, you can’t swap one salt for another without a calculation. For instance, regular salt with kosher salt can’t be done without modification, and there are two types of kosher salt (in the US anyway), and each one requires different calculation. But none of that is in the book.

For me, since I used the pickling salt I had, the pickles came out a bit over salted. I’m not sure if that’s the way they were supposed to be, though.

(Jane) #52

Used my water-seal crock to ferment my garden peppers into “pepper paste”. Is pretty spicy! Some of my jalapeños are pretty hot and I mixed them with my sweet and milder peppers.

These will last many months longer than fresh produce.

(Joey) #53

Great to hear about your fermentation adventures!

FWIW, I’ve mixed/swapped various kinds and brands of salt (sea salt, Morton iodized, non-iodized, etc.) and have concluded the following:

Add salt to taste (i.e., yours).

Salinity assists fermentation/preservation. But salt precision doesn’t seem to matter much based on my experience. What does matter a great deal is whether the final product is too salty or not salty enough.

This whole “fermenting veggie” thing is about creating tasty healthy vegetables to enjoy. If they’re too salty, what’s the point?

Alternatively, I’ve found that avoiding tap water (chlorinated water is said to kill bacteria) and using a jug of distilled H20 has had a much greater influence on the outcome in terms of the fermentation process than how much salt I’ve used.

As an example, I recently used 1/2 cup of non-iodized Morton salt to 1 gallon of distilled H2O in making another batch of pickles. They took a bit longer to reach 4.0 pH - where they stabilized in sourness. But they are awesome. Not too salty, but great flavor. Lots of garlic and dill, among other flavors. :cucumber:

(Bob M) #54

@Janie So, do you just grind up your peppers and then ferment them? That is a great idea, although I’d have to get the peppers from the store. And I could see adding these to “Taco Tuesday” and many other meals.

@SomeGuy Thank you for the info about salt. That makes sense. I’ll have to keep better records.

Have you done any batches of pickles with different amounts of dill? I had a person over who said she liked “German” dill pickles, which she thought had a higher amount of dill than US varieties. I was thinking of going heavier on the dill next time to see what happens.

Alas, I had to use dill seed last time, as our dill plant became a tree. No real “dill” on it. I will have to buy dill from the store or maybe a farmer’s market.

If you want to make a more “dill-y” pickle, do you think you cut back on the garlic, too?

By the way, the container that’s shown above is great. It has an insert so that the insert goes right above/on the liquid. You get a lot less (basically, none) of that white “stuff” floating on the top.

(Joey) #55

Can’t say that I’ve played with the dill quantity much. I don’t get too anal about precise measurements, but have generally stuck to the Shockey book’s suggestion on amount of dill. I’ve gone heavier on the garlic though as that seems to be a great taste for us.

I have added extraneous other veggies to my pickles and sauerkraut, primarily sweet mini peppers (yellow, red, orange) in finely chopped pieces. They add a little extra dimension - especially to the sauerkraut.

Agreed! I love that fermenting tub a great deal. Once a larger batch is done, I then scoop out the result into individual mason jars, top off with the liquid from the batch, spin some white plastic lids on (got tired of the metal ones rusting), and load them into the fridge like soldiers in a line.

Shortly after completing a batch of something, I put that bucket back into use for another batch of something else we’re running low on. The fermenting hasn’t stopped for very long once we got started.


(Jane) #56

Yes, I used the recipe in Shockey’s book for pepper paste and you grind them in a food processor.

(Joey) #57

@Janie Looks scrumptious… Let us know how it turns out. :+1:t3:

(Jane) #58

My favorite fermented food so far! Spicy and all I have to do is scoop some out with a spoon - no chopping peppers or forgetting and rubbing your eyes after chopping (ouch!) and none of my garden peppers spoiled.

I am making low carb wrap pizzas tonight and I may add a bit to one of them for some spice.

I have been adding my fermented onions to my dinner salads and that is convenient also (plus sneaks some fermented foods into my husband’s diet). No chopping and they are salty so no need to add extra salt, either.

(Bob M) #59

It really is a great idea, as many of the ones you find in the store have undesirable oils added to them.

Fermented onions are also on my list of things to try.

I’m still waiting for my giardiniera to get done in the big container. I made pickled mushrooms this weekend, too, but those are “normal” fridge-style pickles.

So, my next three adventures:

  • one last set of pickles in the big container
  • onions in a jar
  • peppers in a jar

(Jane) #60

Which recipe did you use for pickled mushroooms? That sounds interesting!