Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

pbear

A New Way To Make Pickles

Recommended Posts

Basically, this is a hybrid of the two traditional types of pickles.  To my surprise, after a great deal of research, it’s new as far as I can tell.  In any event, I came up with it independently.

 

Here’s the story.  Several years ago, when developing my recipe for kimchi, I read a lot about natural fermentation.  From which I learned the object is to produce lactic acid with the ubiquitous bacterium lactobaccillus plantarum.  Meanwhile, I had long ago decided I prefer naturally fermented pickles (e.g., Bubbies) to those cured with vinegar (e.g., Clausen’s).  What would happen, I wondered, if I prepared traditionally vinegar-cured pickles with lactic acid directly?  At the time, though, I couldn’t find a source.  Later, when looking for ingredients for Modernist Cuisine at Home, I happened upon Modernist Pantry and noticed they have the elusive lactic acid in powder form.  After numerous trials, I worked out a recipe.  It marries the convenience and flexibility of quick curing with the less obtrusive flavor profile of lactic acid.  The result isn’t as complex as a natural ferment, but it’s a heck of a lot easier, more reliable and more versatile.

 

The method works with pretty much anything that anyone pickles with vinegar, including cucumbers, beets, mushrooms, turnips, cauliflower, onions, asparagus, green beans, eggs, apples, etc.  For convenience and ease of refrigerator storage, I built my recipe around 1 litre canning jars.  (Quarts also can be used, of course.)  How much main ingredient will fit depends on how closely it packs after prepping, but 1‑1/2 lb is typical.  If appropriate, blanch or otherwise cook so as to be tender but not soft.   If appropriate, cut into bite-size pieces.  For the brine, combine 2 c water, 2 tbsp kosher salt (18 g) and 2 tsp lactic acid powder (6 g).  For sweet pickles, e.g., Bread & Butter, I reduce the salt to 2 tsp and increase the lactic acid to 1 tbsp.  Notably, according to my electronic pH meter, the 2 tsp lactic acid brine has a starting pH of about 3.2; once it equilibrates with the main ingredient, the pH rises to about 3.8; the recommended level is 4.0 (or less), which is well below the 4.6 needed to inhibit botulism.  Flavorings may be added as desired, including garlic, dill, chile, spices, herbs and/or sugar.  As with the main ingredient, the flavor profile of just about any vinegar-cured pickle can be adapted for the lactic acid brine.

 

A few practical points.  I like to sequester the flavorings in a bouquet garni bag.  It’s not necessary, but makes for cleaner pickles.  Also, I find infusing the brine works better than cold packing.  Bring to a boil, add bag with flavorings and let cool covered.  Put bag in bottom of the jar, add main ingredient and pour brine over.  Most main ingredients float, so I insert a pickling spacer to submerge them.  My favorite spacer is an inverted lid for a stainless steel dredge shaker, available from restaurant supply stores and online (e.g., here and here), as it happens to be exactly the right diameter (70 mm) to fit inside a wide mouth canning jar.  An inverted plastic storage cap for regular size jars also works, though it’s a bit too wide (not easy to get in and out of the jar), solid rather than perforated (no brine above the top layer), and, well, plastic.  Finally, curing takes at least a few days, but a week works better.  Like most quick-cured pickles, texture and flavor generally suffer if held more than a month.

 

Anyhoo, having learned a great deal from the forum, I thought I’d drop this in as my little contribution.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting. Thanks for posting. I make my own kimchi and also tried water kimchi and I'm very interested in fermentation in general.

Did you ever try the Caldwell starter?

I thought the brine solutions should be different depending on the vegetable used, like cucumbers and peppers requiring much higher percentage of salt. Here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried the Caldwell starter but was disappointed.  It may be that I got a bad batch.  Or operator error.  Hard to know.  But I've had no trouble with kimchi or sauerkraut, so I'm inclined to blame the product.  YMMV.  As regards salt, bear in mind that the page you link is talking about natural fermentation.  For quick cured pickles, whether using vinegar or lactic acid as I propose, salt is merely a seasoning.  In this context, one may use as much or as little as suits one's palate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By ProfessionalHobbit
      I had completely forgotten about our dinner there in December. 
       
      Anyone who is a serious eater here on eGullet needs to come here soon. Highly recommended. @MetsFan5 - here is one place you might love over Gary Danko. You too @rancho_gordo.
       
      I'll let the pix speak for themselves...
       

       

       
      Horchata - Koshihikari rice, almonds, black cardamom, cinnamon.
       

       
      Scallop chicharrón, scallop ceviche, crème fraîche.
       

       
      Jicama empanada, shiso, pumpkin, salmon roe.
       

       
      Smoked mushroom taco with pickled wild mushrooms.
       

       
      Dungeness crab tostada, sour orange segments, sour orange-habanero salsa, Castelfranco radicchio, tarragon.
       

       
      Pineapple guava sorbet
       

       
      Fuyu persimmon, habanero honey, tarragon
       

       
      Tasmanian trout ceviche, dashi, Granny Smith apple
       

       
      Aguachile, parsnip, red bell pepper
       

       

       
      Black bean tamales steamed in banana leaves, with salsa on the side
       

       
      Smoked squab broth, pomegranate seeds, cilantro flowers
       

       
      Tres frijoles with sturgeon caviar, shallots and edible gold leaf
       

       
      Black cod, salsa verde, green grapes
       

       
      Wagyu beef, pickled onion
       

       

       
      Smoked squab breast served with spiced cranberry sauce, quince simmered in cranberry juice, pickled Japanese turnips and charred scallion, and sourdough flour tortillas
       
      Yes, it's the same squab from which the broth was made.
       

       

       

       
      And now the desserts:
       

       
      Foie gras churro, with foie gras mousse, cinnamon sugar, served with hot milk chocolate infused with cinnamon, Lustau sherry and coffee.
       
      By the time I remembered to take a pic, I'd eaten half of the churro. Dunk the churro into the chocolate.
       

       
      Dulce de leche spooned atop pear sorbet with chunks of Asian pear, macadamia nut butter
       

       
      Pecan ice cream, candied pecans, shortbread cookie, apples, clarified butter
       
      The cookie was on top of the apples. Break the cookie and spoon everything over.
       

       
      Cherry extract digestif, vermouth, sweet Mexican lime
       
      We'll definitely return. I'm an instant fan.
       
      Prepaid tix were $230 per person, plus there were additional charges due to wine pairings. It's worth every cent you'll spend.
       
      Californios
      3115 22nd Street (South Van Ness)
      Mission District
       
    • By benjamin163
      Hello,
      I love cooking my pulses and beans and have used a pressure cooker, slow cooker and top stove to do so.
      However, the results often vary due to my carelessness.
      I enjoy the results of sous vide and wonder whether cooking beans and pulses sous vide would make them deliciously tender without falling apart and going mushy.
      I have looked up a few recipes but the temperatures vary enormously.
      I'm wondering if there's a more scientific approach. Like, at what temperature do the walls of a pulse break down without breaking apart? 
      And does the amount of water the pulses are steeped in matter?
      I'm gathering that pre-soaking is no longer the necessity it once seemed.
      So I'd love an understanding of the optimum temperature to get fluffy, unctuous beans without the mush.
      Any help or opinions greatly received.
    • By Ling
      Hi everyone! In our last Iron Baker challenge, I was given the task of coming up with a modern take on the retro classic Pineapple Upside-down Cake. For those who missed it the first time around, a picture of my creation can be found here. Now that the first round is over, it's my pleasure to introduce gfron1 as the next baker who will be presented with the new challenge!
      gfron1 is a very talented baker who has posted beautiful dessert creations in our Dessert thread. I am a huge fan. Here is a look at what he can do!
      So, my challenge to gfron1 is this:
      Make a dessert containing an animal ingredient or product other than lard or bacon by October 10th.
      I think all of us will be waiting with bated breath for whatever innovative/scary/(and most importantly) tasty combinations you come up with!
      (Now we just gotta wait around until he notices this thread and accepts... )
      P.S. If you're vegetarian, I can change the challenge.
    • By Mjx
      I'm helping to prepare food for a party, and several of the guests are vegan, and, because I grew up in a vegetarian household, and a lot of the food we ate would have been suitable for vegans, too, I've been asked to come up with several suitable dishes.
       
      The thing is, I'd like to make some dishes that are really appealing, rather than just 'pretty decent for a vegan dish'. I can think of several possibilities, but I'd love to hear other omnivores' experiences of vegan dishes that they really enjoyed, things they'd make themselves/again, or look forward to eating if they knew it was going to be served to them.
       
      Thanks!
      M.
    • By Lisa Shock
      Years ago, when I visited Tokyo, I ate in a small but fascinating restaurant called 'It's Vegetable' which is now, unfortunately, closed. The chef was from Taiwan, and he made Buddhist vegetarian and vegan dishes that resembled meat. During my visit, several monks wearing robes stopped in to eat dinner. The dishes were pretty amazing. I understood some of them, like using seitan to mimic chicken in stir fry dishes, others used tofu products like yuba, but, others were complex and obviously difficult. One very notable dish we enjoyed was a large 'fish' fillet designed to serve several people. It had a 'skin' made of carefully layered 'scales' cut from nori and attached to the surface. Inside, the white 'flesh' flaked and tasted much like a mild fish. Anyway, apparently Buddhist fake meat meals are very popular in Taiwan and many places, cheap through to fine dining serve them. Yes, if I worked on it for a while, I could probably refine one or two dishes on my own, but, I am wondering if there's a Modernist Cuisine type cookbook for skillfully making these mock meats from scratch? (I have heard that some items are commercially made and available frozen there, much like soy-based burgers are in the US.) I am willing to try almost any offering, even if it's entirely in Chinese. And, I know how to use remailers to purchase regional items from the various local retailers worldwide who do not ship to the US.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×