"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Couple of Success Stories

Kosher dill (US)

A "kosher" dill pickle is not necessarily kosher in the sense that it has been prepared under rabbinical supervision. Rather, it is a pickle made in the traditional manner of Jewish New York City pickle makers, with generous addition of garlic and dill weed to a natural salt brine.[3][4][5]

Whereas in Germany and Poland dill pickles have been prepared for hundreds of years, in the US at least one New York restaurant was serving dill pickles in the nineteenth century.[6]

In New York terminology, a "full-sour" kosher dill is one that has fully fermented, while a "half-sour," given a shorter stay in the brine, is still crisp and bright green.[7] Elsewhere, these pickles may sometimes be termed "old' and "new" dills.

That's from wikipedia. Some people call vinegar-processed pickles "kosher dills," but I'm going with my heart - real kosher dills are lacto-fermented, preserved by the same process that creates sauerkraut and kim chee. Mine turned out fantastic.

After a couple of weeks in the big crock, I tried them. I was at first seriously disappointed - they were almost inedibly salty. I had followed a recipe and used the "correct" amount of salt, but clearly there was a problem with the recipe.

In an effort to save my pickles from the rash heap, I poured off half the brine and replaced it with plain water. Two days later, I noticed that the surface of the liquid was covered with mold. This is, contrary to common sense, a GOOD thing! All sources informed me of the inevitability of mold and of it's harmlessness. Just scoop it off, my sources say. Most likely, the lack of mold before I switched out the brine was an indication of it's excessive saltiness.

The next time I tasted them, the pickles were perfect. Really amazingly good. Absolutely what I was trying for - a near-exact replicatrion of the kosher dills I remember from the New York deli cases of my childhood.

My kids, however, who normally scarf up pickles like there's no tomorrow, were a bit confused and put off by the lactic-acid sourness. It is different from vinegar sourness, no doubt. I explained to them that these were "old fashioned" pickles, and therefore "better" than the ones they were used to. We'll see - if the kids don't eat them, I will do it myself.

I have removed the pickles from the crock, packed them into new jars, covered them with fresh brine, and refrigerated them. The truth is, they were getting awfully sour... -

My other success story is cabbages. This year is my first year growing cabbages - my usual gardening calculus favors growing expensive vegetables like tomatoes and corn, so cabbages haven't rated in the past - and I wasn't expected such success. Eight green cabbages grew to enormous size. We have eaten three, and five remain. It is definitely time to harvest them - the slugs are starting to eat around the edges - but I don't know what to do with twenty pounds of cabbage all at once.

Sauerkraut, I guess!


Alison Russell said...

I started making these this summer, only I useed Sally Fallon's trick & jump-started the fermentation with a couple tablespoons of whey. This trick prompted a discussion with friends on whether these could really be called "kosher" since they now contained dairy. I pointed out to my friend that the only difference woould be the inability to eat the with meat, but all by themselves they'd be fine :)

I'm having the same Pickle Problem with DH that you had with your kids. He doesn't like the fermented pickles :( I have to make B& pickles if I'm giong to expecthim to eat any.

Olive said...

When I have an excess of cabbage I sometimes make a meal of :-
1 onion sliced finely
a knob of butter
a couple of slices of bacon
cook in a wok until a good colour and the bacon is crisp
add half cabbage sliced finely a splash of soy sauce
a tablespoon of dark brown sugar
1 Massel chicken stock cube
garlic if desired
about 3 tablespoons full of white vinegar
Toss it all in wok whilst cooking it until it as well coated with the other "goodies" and the cabbage is still crisp. Delicious!!

Dea-chan said...

Exactly what Olive said! I had collected a bunch of cabbage recipes on my blog that I was dying to try last fall (I've made a few):



^ that soup is amazing and ridiculously delicious

jj said...

We do a 'lazy cabbage roll' soup here, involving chopped cabbage boiled in a bit of water until partly cooked, then joined by ground meat, onions, tomato sauce, rice (I throw it in, uncooked, when the cabbage is mostly done), salt, pepper, and paprika. Simple, easy, tastes great, and freezes well...

Q said...

We grew red cabbages this year for the first time ever...we have been gardening for 39 years....slow to the cabbages! I have been making slaw...delicious! I shall be growing lots more next year.
Wonderful story about your pickles....
I love my gardens!
Drying herbs now for winter teas and looking forward to Autumn squashes.

Anonymous said...

Many types of cabbage keep well. Just chuck 'em in a cool place (basement?). I sometimes hang them in fabric bags from a nail in a rafter. You can also set them stem-down on some damp sand and cover with a couple layers of newspaper. If the outer leaves get dry and yellow, just peel those off before you eat the cabbage. There's a big difference between "slaw" and "storage" cabbages in how long they keep, but they should do OK for several months. They might not be super crispy, but they'll definitely stay edible for a while.


Aimee said...

Thank you for all the advice about what to do with my cabbages - now - any advice about how to keep the slugs off of them?