Today’s class was all about picklin’ stuff. Most of what I learned is that having crisp pickles is VERY important and that you can pickle just about ANYTHING you want. In fact, I am actually contemplating pickling eggs… Do I really want to do that???
Well, even if I never pickle eggs here are some things I learned tonight:
1. There are about 4,000 reasons your pickles aren’t crisp (ok, that’s probably an exaggeration but there are a lot of reasons)
2. You must use vinegar that is at least 5% acidity
3. Lemon cucumbers make nice sweet pickles
4. Cut off the blossom end and a bit of the stem so they don’t become soft
5. Immature cucumbers will make bitter pickles
6. Apple cider vinegar is milder than the sharper white vinegar
7. You can use kosher salt instead of pickling salt but it will measure differently. Find pickling salt’s weight equivalent for the kosher salt amount.
8. You can use white or brown sugar.
9. Freeze your whole pickling spices to use again next year.
10. Pick fresh dill as soon as flowers begin to open
11. You can substitute 2 tsp of dill seed or weed for every head of fresh dill in a recipe.
12. Garlic may turn green, blue or purple in your pickles, but it’s still ok to eat. It just looks a little funky.
13. Only use pickling lime and make sure to rinse them several times.
14. Alum is an aluminum derivative and will only firm fermented pickles. (Ugh, are crisper pickles worth it?)
15. Grape leaves may soften the cucs or make them taste bitter or musty. Yum!
16. Use “Pickle Crisp” in the brine for crisper pickles
17. Only use stoneware, enamelware, glass or food-grade plastic for fermenting
18. Soak raw pack cucs in salt water first to remove the grassy flavor
19. Refrigerator pickles are not safe or recommended (but are really yummy and easy)
20. Pickles may turn soft if stored at higher temps
21. Use bottled lemon juice rather than fresh
22. You can use slicing cucumbers but pickling cucumbers make better, crisper pickles