Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In A Pickle

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". :)

12 comments:

Sharon said...

Okay, now I'm totally jealous and probably have to hate you - not to death of anything like that - just almost. I cannot believe that class was offered. I am a pickle freak and would so love to eat a "real" one. On second thought, I'll wait for your report. Real pickles might suck~

Tammy said...

What a great experience! They look pretty good at the moment. You'll have to let us know how they turn out. It's quite interesting to find out they don't use vinigar!
Tammy

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

How interesting Kathy! Maybe it's like making Feta and letting it sit in a brine? Personaly I'm with you - use the vinegar and can them so you can be eating the little cukes for a year!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Im with Sharon, I love pickles, but a real one would probably choke me lol
~~Becky
ps, the no vinigar thing suprised me to; I also am of Celtic descent...

Leigh said...

Kathy, you are so brave to sign up for that class! Very interesting. If yours turn out, I will give this a try too,(though unlike Sharon and Becky, I'm not much of a pickle eater.)

Mim said...

Sounds like great fun. I love all things pickled, with vinegar tho.

Pamela said...

This post was dead interesting. Who knew? I'm very eagerly awaiting your report on how the pickles turned out. No vinegar...imagine that!!!!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Yes, very interesting! When the pickles have cured to one's satisfaction, must they be gobbled up right away then? That would be the downside to me, no matter how yummy they are. I wonder if you could can them when they get to the stage you like to preserve them if you wanted to?

So who got the hoo-ha-ectomies at YOUR place?

Kat said...

Now I'm dying to hear how they turned out! I read the description to my DH and he's highly skeptical that they'll be good. LOL! Of course that could just be because he's jealous of you living in Flagstaff. ;-)

Kathleen said...

This sounds a lot like my first experience with sauerkraut and then later with corned beef...lots of anticipation spiced with a healthy helping of doubt. Both turned out great, though! At least most of the time. I have had my failures...

Lauren said...

That's really interesting, Kathy! I think it's worth a try (though I don't think I can find your fancy cukes). Like you, I can't wrap my mind around no vinegar pickles but this dog isn't too old yet.

Tina T-P said...

Vinegar & cinnamon - the only spices I thought there were until I got into high school... LOL - Good luck with your pickles! T.