Pickling the Web

Having never pickled before I was absolutely intrigued when I came across Kitchen Konfindence’s for Kosher Dill Pickles. He also had never pickled and said that when he came across David Lebovitz’s recipe he couldn’t believe how easy it was. That may or may not be an overused phrase by us food bloggers, we seem to think that ‘easy’ is a great way to get people to try things, but before I tried this recipe I did think that pickling was a much more complicated process than it is.

This recipe tells you, once the cucumbers are in their brine and spices just to put your jars on a shelf covered with cheesecloth for 3-6 days and then to put them on the fridge. I was most nervous about this because the brine in this recipe is just salt water with spices, no vinegar, and as a person raised in a world of preservatives this made me feel that this combination wasn’t going to be enough for ‘preserve’ the pickles. Then I kicked myself in the shins because cultures have been making pickled lots of things for almost as long as civilization has been around, it is believed that the Mesopotamians pickled as early as 2400 BC and somehow everyone didn’t die off from food poisoning.

 

Pickled and Ready to Eat

 

Everything went perfectly and these pickles were delicious. However, though billed as dill, mine came out tasting more like new pickles, they had a lovely salty slightly dill flavor rather what I was expecting which was very dilly and less salty. They were delicious and I will make them again.

Once I realized just how easy pickling is, I went on a pickling jag. I helped a friend with her garden this summer and though her tomato plants are currently confused and are still trying to flower, the fruits still on the plants are not all that interested in ripening. So we stripped the bushes of the green fruits and made pickled green tomatoes.

Using the same basic pickling recipe I also pickled a mixture of purple, yellow and green beans. I did start to freak out when I noticed that some of the garlic in the brine had started to turn blue but this as it turns out is something that happens to garlic sometimes during pickling due to the fact that garlic contains anthocyanin, a water soluble pigment that under acid conditions may turn blue or purple. I do think it is interesting that this did not happen with just the salt brine. The recipe that I used for both the green tomatoes and the green beans was Tara’s from Tea and Cookies. The only adjustments that I made was that in addition to the pickling spices, I added a healthy dose of red pepper flakes and lots of blue garlic. The green beans turned out crispy, fresh and with just enough sting, the tomatoes turned out a little weird, I can’t decide if I like them. I am however, going to take Tara’s suggestion and just start grabbing things at the farmers market and pickling them because honestly, what’s better than pickled produce?

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