This was an experiment. I decided to try preparing cucumbers the way I normally do 'standard' sauerkraut. Unfortunately there will be no photos of KC1 as I ate all the results, which I suppose means that it worked out. Oh yes! They were delicious. Sour, salty, vibrant with tons of flavour, tender but still with a hint of crispness.
INGREDIENTS & EQUIPMENT (in order of appearance)
cucumbers (buy something locally grown, whatever kind they are)
sharp knife and cutting board
large bowl (ceramic or plastic)
clean glass jars (lids are useful too, not essential)
firm, flexible plastic (something like a margarine container is ideal)
1. Offer a small prayer to the God of Cucumbers. Along with the God of Fermentations, He/She will ensure the success of your project and keep it safe from the evil Bacteria and his minion, Stinky-Mess.
2. Wash your hands.
3. Peel a strip from the side of a cucumber. Move around a bit and peel another strip so that you have a stripey effect of skin off and skin on. Repeat until you have peeled all your cumbers.
4. Rinse and pat dry with a kitchen towel or cloth.
5. Chop your cucumbers crossways into bite-sized chunks. Tiny cucumbers can be left whole if you like them that way. I would recommend your chunks or slices being at least 1 centimetre thick. We are not intending to make Mush, for He is also of the Dark Ones. If you want to use your final product in thin slices, slice it when you are ready to use it rather than now.
6. Put your cucumber pieces in the bowl. Sprinkle liberally with fine salt. How much salt? Doesn't really matter at this stage. A bit. More than a pinch, less than a fistful. Toss the cucumbers in the salt.
7. Leave to rest for one hour.
8. Drain, as you will find the salt has drawn some moisture from the cucumbers. Rinse and shake water off.
9. Sprinkle liberally with fine salt again. How much? About a dessert spoon per kilogram (2 and a bit pounds) of cucumbers. Toss the cucumbers in the salt.
10. Leave about 10 to 12 hours at room temperature. By then the cucumber pieces should have softened considerably and be sitting in some briny liquid. Stuff the pieces (gently) in your clean jars. You don't want to crush them to a pulp but you do want them to take up as little space as possible. Pour the liquid in on top of them. If you have done several jars, make sure to put a little of the liquid in each of the jars.
11. The cucumbers should be submerged in the brine. If there is not enough liquid, mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of water and pour it on top. Note that the cucumbers will float. One way to keep them under the brine level is to make a 'collar' from the solid but flexible plastic. Cut a disc that is just slightly larger than the top of the jar. Because jars are narrow at the top, but wider further down, you should be able to stuff the collar in until it will sit comfortably. Make sure the brine level is above the collar. Because the collar can't easily move up, as it is too big, the cucumbers will stay under the brine.
12. Leave your cucumbers at room temperature or slightly warmer for several days. If the fermentation is going well you should see small bubbles rising every now and then. If the liquid level in your jars goes down due to evaporation, top it up with plain water. You should take out the collar and taste a piece of cucumber (and put the collar back to keep the pieces under the liquid) every day until they are as sour as you like them. I live in the tropics and I put my jars in the sun during the day so they were quite warm. It took 4 days. At the end of that time the liquid was quite cloudy and the cucumbers had changed colour from verdant green to, well, pickle green. In a cooler climate it might take longer. I repeat, there is no magic Finishing Line with this kind of fermentation; your pickles are done when they taste good and you must be the judge of that. If your pickles go off it will be obvious by the look or smell. Chuck them in the compost and start again, thanking the Gods for providing you with a Learning Experience That Will Contribute To Eventual Pickling Success.
13. When your cucumbers are done, you can take the collars out, place the lids (if you have them) on and put the jars in the fridge. The krauted cucumbers should keep for ages in the fridge. I'd say 2 months.
14. You can add spices to the jars at any time during the process. Peppercorns, dill, mustard seeds, bay leaves, celery seeds, cloves, chillies, anything you want. I'd suggest trying this first without any spices so you can understand what the base flavour is like.
If you make pickled cucumbers this way please leave your comments and suggestions here. I will do it again and add some more suggestions. I hope I get some photos next time!
| current weight: 146.0