|Freshly mixed sour pickles.|
Place cucumbers in your crock, large jar, or whatever non-reactive vessel you plan to use. Add a head or three of dill, a T. of mustard seed, a T. of celery seed (or whatever other pickle seasonings you like), 3-5 cloves of garlic (or more if you like), and, if you like them spice, a few dried chilies or flaked chili pepper.
In another bowl mix 2 quarts of water with 2 T. kosher or sea salt (or more- you can't really have too much salt, but you can have too little- as a general rule, use more salt when it's warm and less salt when it's cool). Pour brine over your cukes. Mix more brine at the same proportion if needed to cover all contents of your vessel. Using more brine (same proportions) fill a *gallon zipper bag to weigh down your pickles. Then cover the whole thing with a plate or a towel or something to keep the flies out.
|Pickles after a few days of fermenting, bubbling away.|
These keep for months. We were still eating sour pickles that I made last summer in May.
*I realize a plastic bag isn't ideal, but I haven't been able to come up with a suitable alternative. All the plates I have are either too big or way too small. If you have any other suggestions, please share!
|Cabbage getting ready to become sauerkraut.|
Shred your cabbage as if you were making coleslaw. Weigh the amount of cabbage you plan to use, as you want to use about 1 T. of salt per pound. If you don't have a scale, you can generally assume a regular sized head of cabbage weighs between 2 and 3 lbs. Again, more salt is better than less.
The best vessels for this application is a small crock or large wide mouth mason jar. Add a few handfuls of cabbage to your vessel of choice, toss with some of your salt, and press the mixture down HARD into the bottom of the jar. I mean pack it in. Then add more cabbage, toss with more salt, pack some more... repeat until your cabbage is all pressed in. By this time the cabbage should be giving off it's liquid. Give it a few more good pushes, then weigh it down with a plate or whatever weighted down with a jar of water. If there is already enough brine to keep the cabbage submerged, great. If not, give it a little while then come back and push down on it some more, forcing more liquid out. If, after 24 hours, there isn't enough liquid to cover the sauerkraut well (like well above the level of the veg, it has to be completely submerged or it will mold) mix a little brine (salty water, anything from 1 T. salt per 1.5 cups to 1 T. of salt per quart... use your own judgement) and pour it over the cabbage.
Cover the crock with a towel to keep the bugs out, and set in a cool place for 10-14 days, then taste. When done to your taste, move the the fridge (either in jars or in the fermenting container).
I kept my sauerkraut in airtight canning jars in our basement fridge over the winter, and the sauerkraut I made last August has kept a year- I have a jar left, and it's still good. In fact, we had a bout with ecoli recently and I credit my sauerkraut, which I ate directly out of the jar while I was sick, with the mildness of my symptoms compared to everyone else who had it.
|The ingredients for Curtido.|
Check out GNOWFGLINS seasonal produce roundup for more ways to fix your cucumbers!