Fermenting pickles

Three weeks ago I excitedly gathered dill, cucumbers, and a couple of hot peppers from my garden in order to make some fermented pickles. I wanted to make some Lower East Side Full-Sour Dills (based on a recipe from page 45 of The Joy of Pickling) that supposedly New Yorkers love. We like the fermented pickles you can occasionally find at the store, so we had high hopes for these.

I layered the veggies and spices in the crock.

I added the weights and the brine and thought it all smelled quite divine.

I filled the water seal in the crock and then put a two week timer in my head for when they should be done.

This is where everything goes dreadfully wrong. Somehow my head decided that the deadline was permanently two weeks away. I realized with dawning horror that I was three weeks into this forgotten project on the counter, so I tentatively opened the crock and took out a pickle for a taste test. It wasn’t awful but it didn’t taste the best either. The mold floating on the surface was rather disconcerting too. With a glum face I decided to toss the pickles and try again later. Next time, I will write the estimated finish time on my calendar. And I’ll check on them more often. And I’ll try not to make fermented veggies during a heat wave (which didn’t help matters either).

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8 Responses to Fermenting pickles

  1. Ann says:

    Awww. That sucks! (But secretly, I’m happy knowing I’m not the only one guilty of…forgetting…and turning things into “science experiments”). LOL…

    I thought the mold on the brine was OK, just as long as you skim it off regularly? And no, I’m sure the heat didn’t help either. I think I’ve repressed a childhood memory about a crockpot of sauerkraut forgotten in the dark recesses of a closet by my well-meaning mother LOL! It can happen to us all!

    Still, it’s a bit of a p!ss-off having to toss stuff out, but at least you’re one step further along. Like they say, next time’s a charm…

    • robin says:

      Haha! Yeah, I know what you mean. I checked the crock a lot during the first week but I never had any scum or mold. Supposedly, if you have a water seal crock you wont get any scum. Well I thought that meant I wouldn’t get any mold. Since nothing exciting was happening in the crock…that was when I kinda forgot about it and stopped checking it. I thought I could open the crock and the pickles would be fine and tasty. I don’t always have the best ideas. hehe It was a bummer in the sense that I don’t have any more cucumbers to try out with it. Guess the pickles will have to wait until next year.

  2. cruddy..local pickle cuccumers are .29 a pound(here)..you could try again..OR..use that Gartopf to make fruit booze. Preserving fruit in booze in one of those things..the fruit will keep and you can use the booze later too!..I don;t know where I got the idea..perhaps here in the first place but I started looking for a gartopf..or the German fruit version…oh it’s rumtopf:( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumtopf )..pickles are nice and all but they would be better if they were 5-10% alcohol. Actually everthing in life would be better if it were 5-10% alcohol.

    • robin says:

      Oh believe me, I have plans to make fruit booze, but probably not until next year. I have a nice little recipe for Officer’s Jam just calling my name. 🙂 The pickling cucumbers I saw around here were more around a dollar a pound. Hmm, maybe if I fly up to Canada and buy my cucumbers there….

      • nice! that is one post I am looking forward to…actually 2 posts..the officers jam and you making the most expensive pickles in the world!..by my estimates you would need to make 7000 jars of pickles to make your money back.

        • robin says:

          Haha, your right. That might just be a false economy. I guess I would have to fly up to Canada just to be a tourist. Which is one my list of things to do one of these days. I just need to get my passport. Except I’m a tiny bit afraid if I get my passport I will become obsessed with getting stamps in it. Rahahaaaa

  3. Phoebe says:

    Robin, I just took a class on fermented pickles from the OSU Extension Master Preservers and the instructor said that we should expect mold on top and to just keep skimming it off every day. She also said that many old time picklers did not even skim it off, but she prefers the flavor of skimmed. She claims that only if they turn slimy should you worry.
    We did a recipe in the class that only took a quart of pickles at a time. If you have that many cukes left you could try it- It’s in your Joy of Pickling — “Half-Sours By the Quart”. More details on my blog.
    I can’t tell you how they taste yet, mine are only on day 5, but bubbling nicely on the kitchen counter. No mold yet…

    • robin says:

      Yucko, I can’t imagine leaving the mold on and liking the taste. Maybe it’s an acquired thing. 🙂 The pickles weren’t slimy, just sorta soft. I didn’t think they were bad but I really didn’t like the taste of them. Which was probably due to not skimming the mold off every day. I don’t have any cukes left to make more pickles, but I am going to try some more of the recipes in the book next year.

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