Pickle cucumbers from July 2018

ClareBroommaker's picture

We grew 99.9 pounds (no kidding-- I needed another 0.1 pound) of cucumbers in 2018 so we made 13+ gallons of pickles, mostly fermented, but some vinegar pickled. I brought up this jar from the basement today.

Next to it is a jar with just one pickle left in it. I was going to transfer some from the unopened gallon to a smaller jar for the fridge. Then I will grate up some pickles to cook into borscht and put the remaining pickles in the basement.

These pickles were tastey, with a "cleaner" taste to them than others I've made. I want to up the amount of Pickle Crisp, though, as they aren't crisp.

Both jars have notes attached as to what went into the pickles, and the dates, of course. Since I'm still learning I want to have some clue as to how I might have luck to reproduce the better "recipes". Of course, some of that is out of my control, depending on which microbes happen to be in the ferment and the content of the foods being fermented. Vinegar pickles are definitely more consistent.

I pretty much bought up all the gallon jars in the local thrift stores over the last three years. Sorry about that if you were looking for one. :(

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Blueberry's picture

Do you use tap water or distilled? The reason for asking, were we live have lots of lime in the water bad for making pickles. Have noticed that some of the vinegar brands are watered down ie great value an clover valley.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I used tap water.

Our water is chlorinated and I had worried in the past that it might prevent fermentation, but it doesn't seem to do that. When fermenting green beans and tomatoes have tried using Campden tablets to drive off the Chlorine, but it seemed to be unnecessary. I think I tried once heating the water to drive off chlorine, but really did not want to do that as it defeats the purpose of trying to have a low energy preservation. I don't recall how the batch from the heat-dechlorinated water turned out.

Supposedly, we have a fair amount of calcium in our water, but it is not hard water. No one uses water softeners around here. Nonetheless, I think probably my next experiment should be to do some fermenting with distilled water. It will be interesting to see if it makes a big positive difference. I hope not because I don't want to have to feel like a I should figure a free energy way to make and stash volumes of distilled water for when the cukes come in.

I haven't noticed the watered down vinegars. For my whole life, I've only ever seen vinegar standardized to 5%.

Blueberry's picture

When making yeast breads will let the water stand in the bowl about 15 minutes before adding yeast. If I add yeast right after putting water in the bowl it will KILL the yeast. Hope you find that info useful. Have seen vinegar at only 4%.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Wow, that's a lot of chlorine. Where I grew up, the city water has so much chlorine that you can smell and taste it, but I don't remember it killing off bread yeast.

Come to think of it, I was probably letting a lot of the chlorine gas off because summer last year I was mixing up brine ahead of time and keeping it in bottles so that it would be ready to go whenever I had enough cukes to fill a big jar.

David Trammel's picture

One of my favorite munchies are good crisp pickles. I can almost sit and eat an entire jar sometimes. I like a little heat in them, spicy, but not too much. So many hot pickles you can buy are really hot. I've got a bunch of 5 oz cans of Tabasco spicy salt that I sometimes just shake a light touch on them.

(Here's a hint to give a try, hot sauce on a good salad with ranch dressing. It gives it just a bit of a bite, but with that cool ranch flavor!)

I want to try making some pickles myself next year. Though I haven't had much luck growing cucumbers, so I'll have to keep an eye out at the farmer's markets. I'll have to plant a bit of dill for seeds too.

Blueberry's picture

The amount of chlorine in water systems today is far greater than when we were growing up. The bug can even start growing in a water heater if the water temp is below 145F(62C). Two links for info, the CDC link contains a good PDF. https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html The second link is wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionnaires'_disease The good news is after the collapse when everybody is taking a cold bath Legionella will not be the problem it is today.

Alacrates's picture

The possibility of legionella bacteria is kind of the bane of my hopes for sustainable hot water production!

I listened to a Peak Prosperity podcast with Paul Weston, where the host brought up the solar thermal water heating technologies that JMG often promotes, and Weston dismissed solar hot water quickly, with a reference to legionella (they didn't get into it, but I'm guessing his point was that solar hot water temperatures often dip down below the temperatures where legionella can thrive.)

I had some people contact me this summer for a solar hot water batch heater project for an outdoors festival they hold on their property each year (basically glass water tanks painted black inside an enclosure with glass facing the sunlight.) I may still do it, but I'm thinking of including a thermometer in the set-up, and writing some instructions out to not use the water until it maintains a temperature of 145F.

For any interested, here is that podcast on youtube (but it's much more worthwhile for it's discussion of rocket mass heaters and indoor lighting than solar hot water):


Justin Patrick Moore's picture

Those full sours looks delish. I had a good crop of cukes two years back which we pickled, along with banana peppers from the garden. Wanna do more. I've made them twice in the same crock as my kraut... but if I expand the ferments will have to get even more crocks full of shale.

I saw this documentary on PBS called "Half-Sour" about a bunch of skater-punks who created a pickle business because they had no other job prospects. (Hopefully this link works near you.)

Then today I'm cataloging this movie at work, Crossing Delancey (1988)
"Single, attractive Isabelle ("Izzy") Grossman has a rent-controlled uptown apartment and a blooming career in publishing. She also has Bubbie, a tradition-minded grandmother who's hired a matchmaker to find a husband for Izzy. There's already a prospect: the corner pickle seller!?!"

I felt like maybe I had to comment!