And other things, too! But more on that, later.
The dill pickles turned out wonderfully. They are crisp outside, but a little softer inside. I could stand for more crunch, but am happy with what I have. Sean is not as thrilled with the flavor, exactly, as there is a quite sharp spice note; I think it is more the garlic than the black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, but could be wrong.
He still eats them, just making some funny faces as he does it. I think they are excellent, though eating a half of one on an empty stomach did make me wonder if that was the best idea. The unease passed quickly, though.
I think, but haven’t decided, that I may attempt to test out canning this batch, to see how it goes. While I like having fresh dill pickles on hand, that big of a container takes up a large space in our limited refrigerator. I get that that sort of kills all the “good” microbes that can help with digestion and such. But it also means I can store more of them, and for longer, potentially, with minimal effort into the future. Still thinking. May change my mind.
More Pickled Things
We came back from vacation to a garden gone wild. Kim made quick work of one (plus some) of the oversized zucchini, creating multiple loaves of zucchini bread. A perfect application of these hardened, oversized veggies. Equally hard, but with much less precedent, were the many crookneck squash sitting on our table. With the pickles a fair success, and some internet searching for examples, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to test out some pickled squash. Thus, I set about making four quarts of s lightly varying pickles.
For the most part things are similar among the jars. Each received a 1/4 of a small onion, thinly sliced, in the bottom. All received a pinch of black peppercorns, as well. I mentally numbered the jars 1 through 4, which aided in my decisions of how to distribute the rest of the flavoring and such.:
|Ingredient||Jar 1||Jar 2||Jar 3||Jar 4|
|Onion (sliced thin)||1/4 of a small onion||1/4 of a small onion||1/4 of a small onion||1/4 of a small onion|
|Garlic (cloves, crushed)||2||1||1||2|
|Coriander Seed||a pinch||a pinch|
|Cumin Seed||a pinch||a pinch|
|Black Peppercorns||a pinch||a pinch||a pinch||a pinch|
|Crookneck Squash (seeded, mostly)||3 large squash were divided between the 4 containers, with just a little bit of the last squash left over.|
|Mesilla(??) Pepper (seeded, chopped)||1/2||1/2|
|Rosemary (sprig)||1 sprig||1 sprig|
|Black Tea Leaves||a small pinch in each|
|Brine||a quart of water to 2 tbsp. of salt (more on that briefly) In total, it was 3 quarts of water and 6 tbsp. of pickling salt, with just a little leftover after topping the jars to 1.5 inches from the top|
The Mesilla pepper and rosemary (and the squash, of course) were from our garden. Kim recorded that pepper plant being Mesilla, but looking Mesilla pepper up online gives something more like a thin and spicy pepper – almost like a cayenne. So not sure what it really is. We tasted it, and it was more sweet, not spicy.
The brine was a bit of a mess, as I misread, then had to go back and correct proportions. Originally I brined at a 1 Qt. to 2 tsp. ratio. Big mistake. Looks like all is fine now. The ferment is going strong and quite visibly active.
The black tea leaves seems to be a common addition to add tannins to the ferment, which should help keep things crisp. Didn’t sound like it should cause anything bad, no off tastes.
And Even More Pickles
With the squash taken care of, I then started working on some more of the cucumber. I placed 2 sprigs of fresh dill, 1/3 tsp. of fennel seed, 1/3 tsp. of peppercorn seed mélange, 3 crushed garlic cloves and 2 chopped up medusa peppers (ornamentals, pictured above) in the bottom of a quart mason jar. To that I added 2 decent sized, rather dense cucumbers as I thinly chopped them. I then topped with a brine at the proportions I was properly shooting for with the squash, 1 Qt. to 2 tbsp. pickling salt.
The end result looks beautiful, and is also fermenting visibly, though maybe not as powerfully as with the squash.
With all these pickled vegetables, I used sealed mason jars. So I do have to burp them occasionally, unlike the last pickle batch with the plastic water bag for a top. I’d rather not see any salty explosions above the refrigerator where they sit!
Plans For The Future
I’ve already culled the tomatoes we picked, and selected the cherry tomatoes and the small, yellow, pear-shaped tomatoes (forget the name) to make pickled tomatoes with. I don’t quite have enough set aside, to begin, but it won’t be long. Every day I collect more from the garden. Now, that just leaves the larger tomatoes needing a role assigned.
“Pickled tomatoes?” you say. Yeah, we’ll see. I hear they make a nice match to a martini, or in a salad. I’m withholding judgment for now.