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 a free 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 liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
       
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years. Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.. So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency. If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat.And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu.
      Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
       
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By Okanagancook
      I was reminded the other day of the egg-in-plastic-wrap-poach method.
       
    • By MSRadell
      GE is entering the SV field in an innovative way. They are doing a crowdfunding approach through one of their Innovation technology centers. The device itself is also innovative in that it uses a Inductive cooktop for the heating element with a wireless temperature sensor. It's also unique in that it does not include any type of water circulation.
       
      Here's a link to the crowdfunding site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/paragon-induction-cooktop/
       
      What does everybody think about this entry into the field? If nothing else it certainly shows that SV has gotten the attention of major appliance makers. A few weeks ago GE also announced that one of their new lines of stoves will have the same type of temperature control as this device uses so you can do SV on your stovetop.
       
    • By Shelby
      Thanks to @blue_dolphin, I was forced to buy this cookbook  and it was delivered today.  No matter how hard I try, I just don't super enjoy cookbooks on my Kindle.  Anyway, I'll most likely be alone on this thread due to low okra likability lol, but I'm an only child and I'm used to being alone 😁
       
       

       
       First on the list will be the Kimchi Okra from page 100--as suggested by @blue_dolphin.
       
      I'll be back on this thread soon  
    • By Luke
      I made the Creme Anglaise recipe from Myhrvold Modernist Cuisine - it did look curdled and lumpy coming out of the zip lock bag as described in the recipe.
       
      I used my stick blender to smooth it out as instructed, but I think I blended it for too long, and it went from lumpy to smooth to watery. Did I make a fatal mistake of over blending the custard?
       
      The recipe does not say how to blend or when to stop.
       
      Hoping one of the gurus can give me guidance before I try this again.
       
      Many Thanks
      Luke
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...