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Last night, I prepared a couple jars of homemade pickles. Well, they’re not pickles yet, just cucumbers. But give them four days…

When fermenting foods, the labels help keep things straight:

These should be nice and spicy and garlicky, just like my kimchi. I can hardly wait. :)

5 Responses to “pickles”

  1. melody says:

    they look great…

    I’m addicted to the kimchee.. I’ve been making mine ever since I saw your blog… I love the caraway addition.. I’ve used it in place of saurkraut on “reubens”.. delicious.

    Care to share the recipe for the pickles? I’ve seen quite a few, but do not want to add sugar. Is that needed for the fermentation? I will use Stevia.. if needed, but love sharp, strong flavors, so the sweet pickle taste is not necessary.

  2. melody says:

    Also, this is totally off topic, but I ordered some tempeh starter. How do you incubate yours? I’m thinking a cooler with jars of hot water will start it off well… as long as I replace them every 12 hours until the tempeh starts to produce its own heat.. also, have you ever made tempeh from Okara?

  3. Erin says:

    Melody, I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying homemade kimchi because of my blog! :)

    The pickles are not sweet. I don’t believe you can do that with fermentation, as the sugar would turn to alcohol. I think to make sweet and sour (aka, bread-and-butter) pickles you would have to marinate them in a vinegar and sugar mixture and fermentation would not be involved.

    Here, I have simply sliced the ends off small pickling cucumbers. (The distinction is important as regular cucumbers are often waxed, whereas the food distribution chain seems to respect the traditional use of the smaller ones. Why couldn’t they just leave wax off all fruits and veggies? Anyway, I digress.) I have read not to slice them lengthwise until after they are finished. I had forgotten that little detail with this batch. Once cut to size, stuff them into jars, add thinly sliced garlic and the desired herbs and spices (my choices this time around are depicted on the labels). Fill with water to fully submerge. In lieu of salt, I add a tablespoon of unpasteurized vinegar to keep the bad guys at bay and give the good guys a head start (I do this with my kimchi as well). Set in a cool location, like a basement, for four days before refrigerating.

    My first were done using The Perfect Pickler, which comes in 32 or 64 oz sizes, complete with an airlock, a recipe booklet, and a small package of Celtic sea salt.

    Here is a PDF containing a good discussion of fermented and, what they’re calling, “fresh packed” pickles with many recipes, including for bread-and-butter pickles, beets, and sauerkraut:

    Iowa State University publication “Making Pickles and Pickle Products”

    Regarding tempeh, check out my archive entries here and here. I incubate in the oven with just the light on. I monitor the temperature with an indoor/outdoor thermometer and occasionally have to open the oven door slightly for a while to keep it within range. But, in general, the light keeps it about right.

  4. melody says:

    Thank you for the info! I can’t wait to head to the farmer’s market and pick up some cukes.

    one more question about the tempeh… You do it in your electric oven with the light on? Not in a gas oven with the pilot light? I know that in a gas oven it will work and I’ve read that the electric light can be enough to produce the heat… I need to pick up a thermometer. I can’t wait until I get my starter!

  5. Erin says:

    Correct, the light of which I speak is simply the incandescent in my electric oven.

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