Thursday, June 22, 2006


I found an interesting book at the book store about pickling called "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich. It reminded me of a time when I was a child and we'd tried to make pickles without success. For some reason pickling wasn't a part of my family tradition. We'd make what I now know are fresh type pickles, such as cucumbers in sweetened vinegar eaten immediately, or over a couple of days leftover. But the one time we'd attempted canning pickles they came out soggy. Being kids we wouldn't eat them, and somehow we never tried again.

The memory of that time came back when I saw this book. It was paperback, and with all the glorious produce we get from our garden it seemed like this was a sign it was time for me to try pickling. I took the book home, and read through the first few sections, where it describes the various kinds of pickles. What I found was that pickling is ancient, which I'd rather known, but this meant a lot more to me know, due to my living history involvment.

I would be able to make pickles that don't need refrigeration, which would make them perfect for taking to events. I don't like to bring coolers or many other modern things when I do living history things, so these pickles would fit right in.

There are two basic kinds of pickling. Most of us are aware of vinegar pickling, where produce is put in vinegar for preservation. Less well known is fermenting in brine. Perhaps I should say that the results are known, but many of us aren't as aware of how these pickles are made. Sauerkraut is a type of fermented pickle. So are dill pickles.

Last summer we had a lot of green beans. I found an interesting brined beans recipe. Brining is really easy. You make the salt-water solution, layer the items to be pickled in some sort of container, then cover with the brine. I've been using ceramic or glass canisters with a wide mouth. Put something on top to keep the items under the surface of the brine, and leave it for about 2 weeks. Every day you must clean off the surface and make sure the items are under the surface of the brine.

Easy, and the end result is like nothing you can buy in the store.

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