About ten days ago, I saw a very interesting little announcement in our local paper. Anyone wishing to learn how to make true Kosher pickles was welcome to sign up for a class being hosted by our local Jewish church. My curiosity now being peaked, I RSVP'd to go.
This past Sunday saw a small group meeting on the campus of NAU (Northern Arizona University). As I walked in to the meeting room I was greeted by two rabbi, both in traditional dress.
There were a few Jewish families there, but I was very glad to see I was not the only Shikseh there. And, Boy! Did I ever learn about Jewish pickles!
The first thing I learned was that a true Kosher pickle is made using no vinegar whatsoever. Those Kosher Dills you buy in the glass jars at the Mega-Marts are not true Kosher pickles! The Kosher pickle is made through a fermentation process and is bought/served/eaten/enjoyed fresh, never canned (as we can Bread and Butter pickles).
Each of us was given a plastic tub, as you see in the picture. In this tub we made a brine using approximately one scant 1/4 cup of Kosher salt to about 12 oz. of water. To this brine we added seedless Persian cukes (I never knew they existed!), broken into pieces for convenience. Apparently Persian cucumbers are seedless and lower in water content making the best use of this method of preservation.
Next we added 2 - 4 cloves of garlic, two tablespoons of pickling spices (if we chose to), and topped it all off with sprigs of fresh dill just set on top of the whole shebang. Then the lids went on with instructions that at our altitude we could leave this on our kitchen counters from 4 days to two weeks depending on how sour a pickle we wanted. Or, we could put them in our refrigerator if we felt better about not leaving them on the counters due to the risk of "small explosions", as Rabbi Mendi (aka "Rabbi Pickle") called them. Mine is in my refrigerator.
The Rabbi also mentioned that you may see white "scuzz" form on the top of the pickle batch. This was OK and just spoon it off and you'll be fine. Or so he says. :)
The whole idea is to let these pickles be until they ferment enough to actually become pickled. I will let you know how they turn out...
Somehow, this person of Celtic/Scandinavian descent just can't get her brain wrapped around pickling something without the use of good vinegar. But then, I grew up with everything having vinegar and dill...after all...the dill was our "green stuff". :)