Friday, July 30, 2010

I'll give you a Pickle....

For those of you who may not know, my friend Jen and I split a CSA box. What the flip is a CSA box you may ask? It’s a Community Supported Agriculture Box which means once a week, Jen and I (along with many of our other girlfriends) strut down to the farmers market to pick up a box of produce that could feed a football team!

Currently, we have cucumbers out of our ears, and hell, I can only eat so many cucumbers before I feel waterlogged. Pickles, however, are a different ballgame. I love me some pickles. I really love anything pickled. In my small hometown in Kentucky, there is a common “lunch meat” - called pickle dog - that I could eat until my eyes cross. It’s pickled bologna. Yes. I said that. I could eat pickled bologna until I pass out. ( I know your opinion of me just changed, and I’m okay with it.) BUT I gave up the pig, and now can no longer have pickle dog. Every time I’m in a gas station in Kentucky, you better bet my heart yearns for that pickle dog.

Anyway, you get the point, if its pickled, I’m in. So what to do with all these cucumbers? KOSHER DILL PICKLES DUH. And I am excited.

Since I have never pickled anything myself before, I got all antsy and read 22 more recipes on pickling. After realizing that there are a babillion spices in pickle spice, (a vagillion of which I don’t have ) I decided to buy premade pickle spice. GASP. The HORROR! I know, judge me, call my agent and tell her I’m slacking. ( Her name is Sarah and I’ll give you her number if you need it.) Well do you have cassia bark in your cabinet? If so, touché. I don’t. So I consulted David Lebovitz, who consulted Arthur Schwartz. If I am making a kosher dill pickle, you better bet I am asking a Jew.

So this pickling recipe is via David Lebovitz who adapted the kosher dill pickle recipe from Arthur Schwartz’ Jewish Home Cooking

4 quarts (scant 4l) water
6 tablespoons coarse white salt (kosher, if available)
18-20 Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly-crushed
2 tablespoons pickling spice
6 bay leaves
1 large bunch of dill, preferably going to seed, washed

In a large pot, heat 1 qt (1l) water with the salt until the salt is dissolved. Add the remaining water. Prepare three 1 quart (liter) wide jars by running them through the dishwasher or filling them with boiling water, then dumping it out. Pack the cucumbers vertically into the jars, making sure they're tightly-packed. As you fill the jars, divide the garlic, spices, bay leaves, and dill amongst them. Fill the jars with brine so that the cucumbers are completely covered. Cover the jars with cheesecloth, secured with rubber bands, or loosely with the lids. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 days. After 3 days, taste one. The pickles can ferment from 3 to 6 days. The longer the fermentation, the more sour they'll become. Once the pickles are to your liking, refrigerate them.

Pickling Spice
• 1/4 cup broken cassia bark
• 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
• 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
• 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
• 2 tablespoons allspice berries
• 2 tablespoons black peppercorn
• 1 tablespoon dill seeds
• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
• 2 teaspoons whole cloves
• 2 teaspoons celery seeds
• 2 teaspoons crushed mace blades
• 8 crushed bay leaves
• 1 (1-inch) section dried ginger
• 1 small dried hot red pepper

We are on day six of pickling, (we left them whole therefore its taking longer) and let me tell you, they smell like summer for a fat kid. LOVES it. Way better than vlasics , kids. Way better!

Happy weekend pickling!

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