Saturday, November 3, 2012


Skateland had a big jar of giant, soft, twist-your-face and lock-your jaw sour pickles.  They sold for a nickel a pickle - what a deal!  I spent a lot of nickels at Skateland, and looking back I wonder if my sister and I went there for the skating or for the pickles.  There were the regular serious skaters, one older guy with greasy black hair comes to mind, whirling around the curves to awful organ music,  He could skate at full speed and squat with one leg out, never failing to both disgust and impress.  Because of the sleazy/rough guys and girls that went there for some serious skating and flirting, we called this place Snakeland.  I think their organ music is one reason I don't care for professional basketball and baseball today.

Taking a break from gardening for the season, I joined the local farm's basket plan for $15 a week.  It's like Christmas every week, pulling this and that out of the basket.and discussing how we will cook a new vegetable we've never tried.  Last week it was patty pan squash and orb squash.  They were delicious!  I sliced the patty pans and grilled them in the oven under the broiler with olive oil and sea salt, adding a splash of balsamic vinaigrette.  The orbs were sliced and cooked in a pot with onions, salt, pepper and butter...regular squash fare.  Back to the basket...We have received about a pound of pickling cucumbers each week, some small, some large.  I have three weeks' worth and decided to try my hand at sour pickles.  I read a bunch of recipes online, picked and chose what I'd like.  Two recipes influenced me the most Fermented Pickles and Hungarian Sour Pickles.   Here's what I ended up doing:

   - no no no bad bad bad-


Bread and dill not added yet.
The lid is not tight, just sits on top
Cut the tips off and give each pickle a 2" slice down two sides, then stand on end in glass container.  I had a few empty spaces and tucked raw okra in to keep pickles from floating.  And because I like the speecy spiciness of Wickles Pickles, I tossed in two hot datil peppers, fresh off my pepper bush and tucked fresh dill about.  Mix everything but the dill fronds in water, making sure to melt the salt, pour over pickles, making sure that all pickles are under water.  Add the bread, lay a frond of dill on top.  Once waterlogged, the spices will sink (probably overnight) and then if the pickles start to float to the top, I'll place a saucer on top to hold everything underwater.   Add a loose lid to the top or just a dish, as the yeast in the bread will spread and the jar will need to burp (at will)  

Because I wanted more sour pickles, I added a bit more salt than the usual half sour pickle recipe, therefore my pickles will take a bit longer to set.  I am placing the pickle jar on our shady screened back porch for a week to ferment (and stink).  The water will get bubbly and turn cloudy, burp and stink.  After a week, I will taste, then either allow it to wait a few more days or, if they're ready, place in the fridge for eating.  I cannot wait to make grilled cheese and mustard sandwiches and serve with a big sour pickle spear.  My mouth waters and jaw clenches at the thought!

A WEEK LATER: The outcome was a jar of fermented mush!  oh how awful.  Only the okra was the right consistency, but it had a fermented okra beer taste that was oh so disgusting.  Tossed it all out and started over with a recipe from this Saturday's basket.  

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