I’m sort of, okay not really “sort of”… I’m definitely frustrated right now because I was informed recently that a woman on Facebook was using photos that belonged to me, that are my property, photos of my cupcakes, and passing them off as hers. I wasn’t the only one- she was using someone elses too, and that woman found out sooner & reported her to Facebook. The photos have since been removed. This entire thing frustrates and angers me because what right does someone have to steal anything of mine and claim it as theirs? That goes for both intellectual property and tangible property. My photos, like my artwork, are mine. 100% copyrighted. Most of the recipes I post are not mine, and I give credit where it’s due. Otherwise, I expect that people will use the recipes, that’s what they’re here for. But the photos? Those are mine. Any photos of food I create are mine, meaning if you take them, I can sue you. I won’t, because I don’t have time for that shit. But I could. So anyone out there who either has stolen my pictures or was planning on it, do me a favor- get a life, get a camera and get your own photos. Thanks.
Now back to the food! Pickles are a weird thing, aren’t they? When you think about it, they’re such an old-timey food product. A vegetable soaked in salt and vinegar until it tastes nothing like what it originally did. Pickling was first used (and still is in some societies) years ago to preserve food without the help of refrigerators or ice boxes. Anything can be pickled, for example the famous Penn Dutch/Amish snack, “Chow Chow” (which I find GROSS). But thankfully nowadays more than anything the only pickled item we see or eat often are… well, pickles.
A pickled cucumber (commonly known as a pickle in Australia, Canada, and the United States) is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, usually by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation.
GherkinMain article: Gherkin
A gherkin is not only a pickle of a certain size but also a particular species of cucumber: the West Indian or Burr Gherkin (Cucumis anguria), which produces a somewhat smaller fruit than the garden cucumber (Cucumis sativus). Standard pickles are made from the Burr Gherkin, but the term gherkin has become loosely used as any small cucumber pickled in a vinegar brine, regardless of the variety of cucumber used.
A “kosher” dill 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 to the brine.
At least one New York restaurant was serving dill pickles in the nineteenth century.
Polish style pickled cucumbers (Polish: ogórek kiszony, plural: ogórki kiszone) are a type of pickled cucumber developed in the northern parts of Europe and have been exported worldwide and are found in the cuisines of many countries. As opposed to some other varieties of pickled cucumbers, they are prepared using the traditional process of natural fermentation in a brine which makes them grow sour. The brine concentration can vary between 20g/litre to more than 40g/litre of salt. There is no vinegar used in the brine of a Polish-style pickled cucumber.
The fermentation process is entirely dependent on the naturally-occurring Lactobacillus bacteria that normally cover the skin of a growing cucumber. Since these are routinely removed during commercial harvesting/packing processes, traditionally-prepared pickles can only be made from freshly-harvested cucumbers, unless the bacteria is artificially replaced.
Typically, small cucumbers are placed in a glass or ceramic vessel or a wooden barrel, together with a variety of spices. Among those traditionally used in many recipes are garlic, horseradish, whole dill stems with umbels and green seeds, white mustard seeds, oak, cherry, blackcurrant and bay laurel leaves, dried allspice fruits, and — most importantly — salt. The container is then filled with cooled, boiled water and kept under a non-airtight cover (often cloth tied on with string or a rubber band) for several weeks, depending on taste and external temperature. Traditionally stones, also sterilized by boiling, are placed on top of the cucumbers to keep them under the water. The more salt is added the more sour the cucumbers become. Since they are produced without vinegar, a film of bacteria forms on the top, but this does not indicate they have spoiled,and the film is simply removed. They do not, however, keep as long as cucumbers pickled with vinegar.
The concoction produced during the fermentation process, containing vitamins and minerals, is often consumed as a drink; it is also considered to be a remedy against hangover.
In Russia and Poland they are traditionally served as a side dish to vodka. In the United States and Canada, especially in Jewish communities and delis, they are sold alongside kosher dills in “full sour” and “half sour” varieties.
In Hungary, while regular vinegar-pickled cucumbers (Hungarian: savanyú uborkak) are made during most of the year, during the summer kovászos uborkak (“leavened pickles”) are made without the use of vinegar. Cucumbers are placed in a glass vessel along with spices (usually dill and garlic), water and salt. Additionally, a slice or two of bread are placed at the top and bottom of the solution, and the container is left to sit in the sun for a few days so the yeast in the bread can help cause a fermentation process.
Lime pickles are soaked in lime rather than in a salt brine. This is done more to enhance texture (by making them crisper) than as a preservative. The lime is then rinsed off the pickles. Vinegar and sugar are often added after the 24-hour soak in lime, along with pickling spices.
Bread and butter
Bread-and-butter pickles are sweeter in flavor than dill pickles, having a high concentration of sugar or other sweetener added to the brine. Rather than being served alongside a sandwich, they are more often used in fully-flavored sandwiches, such as hamburgers, or used in potato salad. Cucumbers to be made into bread and butters are often sliced before pickling.
Swedish and Danish
Swedish pickled cucumbers (pressgurka) are thinly sliced, mixed with salt and pressed to drain some water from the cucumber slices. Afterwards placed in a jar with a sour-sweet brine of vinegar, sugar, dill and mustard seeds.
Danish cucumber salad (agurkesalat) is similar, but the cucumbers are not pressed and the brine doesn’t have parsley. The cucumber salad accompanies meat dishes, especially a roasted chicken dish (gammeldags kylling med agurkesalat), and is used on Danish hot dogs.
Kool-Aid Pickles (a.k.a. “Koolickles”)
Well that was a long introduction to the world of pickles, wasn’t it?
I’m not a big pickle person. When I was a kid, I’d get those huge dill ones out of the barrels and nibble on it for an hour while my parents walked around the “Shopper’s Village” flea market. But I don’t know what happened- one day I just turned on my beloved pickles and ever since then I’ve been adamantly against them. I like the smell, and when I ate fast food I’d never say hold the pickles because I liked the flavor they gave the burger, but I won’t eat them. I always pass my pickle to Jay or whoever is eating with me (most people, I find, really like pickles). I do however like fried pickles, but only in moderation. After three or four of them I’ve had my fill.
But I found myself in the possession of many cucumbers, saw some jars for sale, and I decided to try my hand at making my own pickles. I figured, we always have at least one jar in the fridge and they go pretty quickly, plus I wanted to use up the cukes before they went soft. It just seemed like a fun thing to try. And then, whattaya know, the new Real Simple came and I saw there was a recipe for quick refrigerator pickles. It was a sign!
I made one jar as a test, and when I saw how well it turned out, I decided to try it again, this time cut lengthwise. I also think I might make these for others, which is a great idea… but if you do it, since they only keep a week in the fridge, make sure the person eats enough pickles not to waste them, and also that they know there’s a one-week time limit on them.
Mine were eaten alone, on the side of a homemade hamburger/corn on the cob meal and with sandwiches.
24 HOUR QUICK PICKLES
- 4 Kirby cucumbers, cut either lengthwise or sliced
- ¾ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ small sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dill seed
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes*
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt
- Place the cucumbers in a 1-quart container with a tight fitting lid.
- In a bowl, combine the vinegar, onion, garlic, dill, peppercorns, pepper flakes, bay leaf, 2 teaspoons salt and ¾ cup hot tap water. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar with the cucumbers, cover tightly with lid, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. The pickles will keep up to 1 week.
The general consensus was that they were delicious. I used a bit more garlic in mine (in the form of an extra dose of garlic powder). I also added a little bit more salt, so they turned out more sour. I used regular cucumbers, not Kirby’s, and I also used regular dried dill, not dill seed. I left out the bay leaf too. All in all, it was a fun little experiment. I might want to try making real pickles, complete with the sealed Ball jars, since this went pretty well. These came out crisp with an incredible flavor, especially since they only “cured” for 24 hours. Everyone who tasted it could taste the red pepper flakes, which is good if you like things on the hotter side. Just keep that in mind when making yours.