(Psst…if you haven’t signed up for my subversive cross stitch giveaway yet, do so now!)
When your Bad Mama Genny and The Boy lived in the New York City place, we frequented the occasional Jewish deli.
Fine, the SLIGHTLY MORE THAN OCCASIONAL Jewish deli. What can I say? I’m a half-Jew. Making me a Cashew. Fun, little known fact about your Bad Mama Genny, misfits. Oy vey!
In any case, these fine establishments almost always carry the elusive, the beautiful, the mouthgasm inducing…SOUR PICKLE. These are totally different from vinegar pickles–they’re sour because they go through lactic acid fermentation, which gives them a unique flavor profile, makes them easier to digest, and grants them special probiotic superpowers.
I am all about superpowers, misfits. Just this weekend, The Boy’s mom taught me how to crochet. She was in town for a funeral, which is pretty much as good a place to learn crochet as any other. There were no sour pickles at this funeral, but someone did chip a tooth, so that was exciting!
It was me.
Oddly enough, there are those who think the most valuable thing in the pickle crock isn’t even the pickles–it’s the garlic. In fact, lacto-fermented garlic is something of a folk remedy for its probiotic and antibacterial properties, as well as its ability to repel strangely moody, pale man-boy mouth breathers with names that rhyme with Schmedward. So basically, this garlic IS SOME VALUABLE SHIT. And, um, just in case you were worrying that this recipe wouldn’t include enough of that fine and funky garlic?
Yeah, I think we’re pretty well covered here.
Y’know, naturally-fermented pickle brine was also once a precious commodity and cure-all. But historical misfits wouldn’t stop at applying it to cuts, bruises, and rashes–they used it on wrinkles, too, which is just. so. sexy. Of course, people don’t do this anymore, but I say, why pass up a perfectly good opportunity to torture the people you love? In fact, the next time The Boy walks into the room, I plan to toss a bucket of cold pickle brine into his face. For love.
Make up some naturally-fermented pickles with your bumper crop of cukes, lovey loves. Because the BMG is worried that you may not be colonized by sufficient numbers of foreign bodies.
Colonizing you with foreign bodies. It’s one of the things I do best.
Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles
Makes 1 gallon pickles
3 1/2 lbs. pickling cucumbers, washed, with blossom end shaved off (that would be the non-stem end)
6 Tablespoons sea salt
1 rounded teaspoon calcium chloride (optional, for crisp)
3 heads garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
1/2 cup whey (extract whey from yogurt like so) (wanna do this the vegan/dairy-free way? See this post.)
2 large bunches dill weed
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
2 Tablespoons dill seed
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seed
Start with a clean, 1 gallon container–a pitcher works well for this. Pile in the cukes, layering them with the dill weed, garlic cloves, and spices.
At this point you may be wondering if my manicures are EVER unchipped. The answer is…no.
Reposition any cukes you have to in order to keep them several inches below the top of the container. Now mix 8 cups of lukewarm (not hot), filtered water with the calcium chloride (if using), salt, and whey. Stir and pour over the pickles to thoroughly submerge them. If you need more liquid to cover, add additional filtered water. Now place an open Ziploc bag over the crock (open side up), and fill with enough water to weight the cucumbers down and keep them submerged. When you have that right, seal the bag, cover the whole thing loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location. Check the pickles for sourness each day. Mine are usually at optimal sourness in 1 week, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment. Once they’re where you like ’em, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation and enjoy! They’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.
Note: If a little mold develops on top, don’t worry–this is normal. Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep on fermenting, lovey doves.
Note Again: Pickled garlic turns blue sometimes. It’s normal. We all get blue sometimes, right? Well, this is a totally harmless chemical reaction and you can (and should, and MUST) still eat the blue cloves.