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Beginning Pickling- Need Suggestions

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Showing 1-21 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 31, 2011 3:29:09 PM PST
M.J. says:
Hello! I really want to take a stab at pickling, but really, JUST cucumbers.... don't care about okra, corn, apples, etc- just different cucumbers, and I guess, other squash.

I am a beginner- what's the best book for this? The Ball book looks great for a very versatile selection of options, but really, I'm thinking simple, common stuff right now- Suggestions?!? Thanks in advance!


Posted on Dec 31, 2011 8:41:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 31, 2011 8:42:47 PM PST
ace™ says:
hi mike!

most pickling books contain much more than cucs for pickling, so i'm not sure you will find something for just cucs. other squashes? i don't know. soft ones like zucchini wouldn't pickle so well and i've never really heard of pickling the harder ones like acorn and the like.

but... i started a thread a while back about pickled and fermented veggies (like sauerkraut and kimchee) but also added a post about my claussen pickle clone (if you have had the refrigerated claussens, you know that they are VERY crisp and tasty) so, here's my recipe:


You will need a one gallon jar... or you can modify to make as many quarts as you like...

For one gallon, you will need:
1 cup pickling salt
2 T pickling spice
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 T black peppercorns
2 or more heads fresh dill, or, if not available, about 2 T dill seed
about 2 cups white vinegar
enough pickling cucs to fill the jar (I'm guessing 3 or 4 lbs, I didn't weigh them since I bought 23 lbs at the farmer's market and made several kinds of pickles)

Method: Wash cucs thoroughly and place into gallon jar.
Pour all of salt into jar and fill with water.
Put lid on and shake well to dissolve salt.
Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, pour off about 3/4ths of the water.
Add pickling spices, garlic, peppercorns and dill to jar with cucs and remaining water.
Mix vinegar with 2 cups water and pour over cucs in jar.
Put on lid and shake again.
Refrigerate for 2 days or until you can't keep your grubby paws off of them! ;-)

*Salt: You can also use kosher salt, but make sure the ingredients are JUST salt. The Morton's Kosher has yellow prussiate of soda added. Diamond Crystal Kosher is pure salt and so is the Alessi. Any additives can cause your pickles to turn mushy.

*Water: I use distilled water for the same reason as the issue with the salt. If your tap water tastes good and you plan to eat the pickles fairly quickly, you can use it, but I would let it sit uncovered overnight first to let the chlorine evaporate.

*Spices: These are just my suggestions. If you want them spicier, feel free to add some red pepper flakes! If you want them not-so-spicy, leave out the peppercorns. Feel free to add more or less garlic! This was a total experiment based on a Giardinara recipe I found online... and, of course, modified! I decided, since I had extra cucs left, to just make it with cucs instead, change the seasonings a little... and was shocked at how good the pickles turned out! I said to hubby "Well, NOW I know how Claussen's gets their pickles so CRISP, and WHY they have to be sold from the refrigerated section! They're not heat processed like the shelf-stable pickles!"

Any questions, let me know!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 5:49:17 PM PST
Recipe Diva says:
You have a recipe for kimchee? That doesn't involve burying the thing in the earth? Where can I see the recipe, please?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 5:59:15 PM PST
ace™ says:
hi, R.D.... yes, i have a great recipe for kimchee... no burying needed! i will bump the thread i started so that you can see all the recipes that were posted by me... and other happy cooks on this forum!

off to find the thread... back in a few....

Posted on Jan 1, 2012 6:02:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2012 6:04:07 PM PST
ace™ says:
ok, R.D.... scroll down... it's bumped! and kimchee is the very first recipe! it's called "fermented veggies... recipes for kimchee..."

Posted on Jan 2, 2012 7:32:50 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2012 7:38:17 PM PST
Zucchini squash pickles beautifully and makes a rather divine sweet pickle. Anything you can make with a cucumber, you can make with zucchini.

I've learned that the less fuss, the better. Here's how I do it.

Sweet pickles are a breeze to make. Heat to a to just boiling (cider) vinegar and mix in sugar to taste. Let it cool and pour over your clean, washed diced, vegetable. Or, if you would rather the vegetable be softer in texture cook it in the mixture for a couple of minutes.
Place the mix into a container, cover and refrigerate. Most "pickled" items will hold for several weeks in the fridge.

Add a bit of hot pepper for zing or a toe of garlic. I sometimes sprinkle some black pepper corns or a few whole cloves. Mixing a dash of mustard powder (but only a dash) is tasty too.

I like to keep a jar of pickled onion slices in the fridge - I use them in a lot of dishes we enjoy.

Dill pickles take a bit more work and planning but only a little more and are also a breeze to make.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2012 7:46:29 PM PST
ace™ says:
interesting, p. fulton!

i have never tried pickling zucchini for the reason i mentioned, but may have to give it a shot... i am more a fan of salty/spicy/sour pickles than i am of sweet pickles, so i might have to experiment with a sour zucchini recipe and see what happens.

and pickled onions in the fridge? YES! i am a fan of just about anything pickled.... veg, fish, pig... LOVE pickled pig trotters!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2012 7:48:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2012 7:54:26 PM PST
BBP says:
hi RD, i made kimchi last wk. It's really easy and only takes about 3-4 days for the fermentation and then you're ready to eat! I like my kimchi fresh and crispy. It's much better than the kind I can get at the Asian supermarkets nearby. Those have been sitting in the brine too long and lose their flavor.

There are many many ways to make kimchi and styles/variations, but here's how I make mine. First is to leech out the water from the napa cabbage. Some people take off the individual leaves I cut them bite sized pieces, but I like to cut the head into quarters. I like to retain the shape of the cabbage. Next sprinkle coarse sea salt on the leaves (some people rub salt between the individual leaves to speed up leeching), then put a heavy plate on as a lid and weights on top to tamp down the cabbage. Then I leave that alone for about 3 hours. Wash the leaves out.

Make a mash of: 1 apple, 1 onion, some cloves of garlic, fish sauce in a blender. I don't measure when i cook, so sorry about the lack of units and measurements. Pack the leaves tightly into a big jar, add the mash and paprika powder, and enough liquid to submerge the leaves. I also cut up some daikon, spring onions, and carrots into strips and stuff it in the jar too. Shake the jar violently to distribute the mash and brine. Let sit in a cool dry place for 3-4 days.

Here's the video I originally learned from, and created my own deviation:

The most important thing, I would say is the mash. It sticks to the leaves and gives it not just heat, but a lot of flavor. I did not know that for years and my kimchi always ended up pretty lousy.

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 5:21:13 PM PST
M.J. says:
Thanks. That's great info..... It has been saved.

I am still interested in a good beginning book... it doesn't have to be JUST cucs, but that's my main focus.... I found 2 books that I thought would be good but neither were of much help, so I guess an ideas on a good beginner book would be great....

Again, thanks for the recipes!


Posted on Jan 5, 2012 5:51:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2012 5:52:33 PM PST
ace™ says:
hi mike!

i have (and use A LOT!) the first edition of The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market (Revised Edition), so i imagine the revised edition would be even better.

the first chapter is a pickling primer and there are all sorts of helpful hints scattered throughout the book. the book is well organized into chapters on different types of pickles... fermented, fresh, quick, sweet... and a chapter on kimchee and sauerkraut. she even has a chapter on pickling meat, fish and eggs, if you REALLY get the bug!

i highly recommend it! (and no, i'm not the author... only WISH i was!)

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 4:20:35 PM PST
M.J. says:
Hi Ace! Thanks for the tip! Very much appreciated! I'll check it out! It looks like this might be what I'm looking for......

Thanks again!


Posted on Feb 16, 2012 5:02:59 PM PST
tonyS says:
I've never heard of pickled apples. What kind would you suggest for pickling?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 5:57:50 PM PST
joaniepony® says:

In Cook's Illustrated Sept/Oct 1994 page 19, Quick Pickle Recipes.
What's a kirby cucumber????

This is my plagiarized recipe: Sliced common cucumbers,
bring vinegar and sugar to a boil~ pour hot on the cucumbers.
Drain. put in fridge over night, add sour cream and take to potluck.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2012 6:27:59 PM PST
ace™ says:

kirbys are what you think of as pickling cukes... the short ones that have spines on them.

regular cucs should work fine, although they do have more seeds and a higher water content, so your sour-creamed quick pickles may be a little more watery than if made with pickling cucs.

they should still taste good, tho!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 10:48:18 AM PST
joaniepony® says:

The pickling cukes, are half dead in our markets, and way over-priced.
The recipe I sighted, After draining the hot vinegar, I put them on papertowls over night.
and added the sour cream just before I took them to the potluck.
Every one raved over them. (They had better cuz, they brought things like Ice Cream, an uncut cantelope, which I ended up have to prepare it myself) I also took cherry tomatoes,cut in half, with Good Seasons Salad Dressing made with only half the vigegar and oil, cottagecheese with pineapple, and at least one other item, like a supermarket pasta salad.
I was being used!!!! That is why I quit going.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 11:44:34 AM PST
mango™ says:
Great, I've gone and ordered yet another cookbook I'll prob. never even use! I blame it all on you!

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 4:04:09 PM PST
My 1st go-to book for pickling anything is the old Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook with the red & white checkered cover. It has some of the best pickle recipes I've ever made, sour and sweet. For the classic dill pickle recipe, I cut the amount of salt the recipe calls for in half. It's too salty otherwise, but you have to experiment until you find the recipes you like and stick with. It's a bit of 'trial & error' sometimes with the seasoning. Green beans are really easy to pickle too and are very tasty. Just make sure all of your veggies are very fresh and firm before you start, especially if you plan on canning them in a hot water bath. Pickling is both easy and fun but makes a mess of the kitchen!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 4:35:28 PM PST
joaniepony® says:

I got rid of a bunch of Cookbooks, I'm just in love with Cook's Illistrated, and have been ordering since the charter date,1993!
I get each issue, then order the bound edition at the end of the year. It's a real "cook by the numbers" type of book,
what are the best ingredients, make of pan and size, even has pictures of "screw-ups",and what not to do. I also have all The PBS
companion books to the TV show America's Test Kitchen and all the DVDs. I have the master index for CI.
At one time, when I was on an OCD trip I bought everything they ever printed, I'm over that OCD kick (on the CI books)so I was able to give them away, Of course I had to transfer OCD on the Wild Eyes Collection. Well right now I don't have an OCD problem,

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012 6:58:31 AM PST
SG of Texas says:
Not sure where you live, I live in Texas and we get alot of sun! These pickels are my fav! No boiling, but it does not work if your low temps are below 40, so be aware of that. They will stay best if kept in the frig, and no more then about 6 to 8 months, after that, they start to get soft.
Also my mom found my pickel salty, so I reduced the salt by 1/2 and they still tasted great!
Best of luck!

S.G. in Dallas

Sun Pickles

Recipe measured for a single quart jar of pickles. Really nice if you are growing your very own pickle vines of which never make any promise on yield. These are so crisp and similar to the Claussen brand. My neighbors laugh at my little jars all lined up, sitting in full sun, atop the fence. CAUTION: Look out for Bumble Bees, if you are lucky enough to have your own pickle vines.

2 Tbsp. Ice Cream Salt or Pickling Salt
2 cloves (or fingers) of Garlic Pod, diced 2 Tbsp.
Dry Dill Seed (fresh dill may be used and only use 1 Tbsp. Salt)
1/2 C. 5%+ of Distilled Vinegar. NEVER USE LESS THAN 5%. Check label

Wash and pack cucumbers (cut in any shape or leave whole) in QUART Wide mouth (preferably) jars, add above ingredients and fill with water.Screw on canning lids careful not to let dill get between jar and lid. Set in sun turning upside down every 24 hours for 4 days. The sun will seal the jars. (What if it rains? Give them another day! I knew you would ask.) THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 10:36:53 AM PST
I uaed Mrs Wages refrigerator mix....Kosher Dill, Polish dill and bread and simple and,everyone, I mean everyone wants my pickle recipe. I tried using store bought cukes...doesnt need home grown cukes only. The store bought were bitter and not crisp. Hint: I cut mine in spear and soak them in ice water before I put them in the jars.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012 11:23:01 AM PST
joaniepony® says:

I agree with you, unless something is home-grown, it is neither
fresh or cost effective to can, preserve,pickle (except Kimche) dehydrate.
Not all Farmers Markets, are good deals either, (Southern California)
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Discussion in:  Cooking forum
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Initial post:  Dec 31, 2011
Latest post:  Feb 22, 2012

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