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Old 12-02-2012, 01:21 AM   #1
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Pickling: mustard powder

My roommate makes these wonderful mustard pickles with a recipe passed down in her family. It does not require refrigeration, so I guess that means the pickles ferment?

Anyway, I wanted to do some pickling even though we cant buy pickling cucumbers anymore, so I just cut regular cucumbers into spears and removed most of the seeds. My plan is to keep them in the refrigerator so that I dont have to worry about spoiling and they keep for longer.


Aaaaanyway, I used the recipe, and to my surprise, the ground mustard didnt really dissolve at all despite boiling the brine. There are lots of visible bits floating around and they sink to the bottom when left to sit. Is there a secret to this that I am unaware of? Is it possible that the quality of ground mustard was an issue?


Also: the pickles, when kept out in a ceramic pot thing, only take a 2-3 days to be ready. Will this be different if they are kept in the refrigerator?

Thanks

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Old 12-02-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Hi, Ravich. It would be easier for us to help you if you post the entire recipe.

I haven't used ground mustard in pickling, just whole mustard seeds, but they're lightly pounded to release flavor. These and other ingredients do sink to the bottom of the jars, but since the liquid is well-flavored, it doesn't matter. They're just left in to look nice and indicate what seasonings were used.

btw, refrigerating them does not mean they won't spoil. They should last a month or so. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:15 PM   #3
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The next time try to add a small amount of water to the dry mustard and stir until well blended. Then add the liquid mixture to your pickling spices. I wouldn't be botherred by the fact that it didn't disolve. the flavor is still there. But that is just me.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:48 PM   #4
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Recipe is 1 quart of distilled vinegar, 1/4 cup ground mustard, 1/4 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar.

And the recipe does say to make a paste, but I didnt bother because I figured boiling it would get rid of that issue. If the flavor is still there, then I'm not bothered. I just wanted to check.



Regarding them keeping for a month, I believe you, but why do I hear/read things about pickles that need to sit for 4-6 weeks before they're even ready?
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravich View Post
Regarding them keeping for a month, I believe you, but why do I hear/read things about pickles that need to sit for 4-6 weeks before they're even ready?
Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought you were talking about refrigerator pickles, not hot-water-canned pickles. If you can them, then yes, with some recipes, they need to sit for a while. Refrigerator pickles should be ready to eat in a couple of days, but they won't last forever

Here's a good article about both methods by the author of a blog and cookbook called Food in Jars: Small Batch Recipe: Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles btw, I've made these pickles several times and they're great
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:15 AM   #6
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Oh, I am talking about refrigerator pickles. Here's what confuses me:


A couple of weeks ago I went to visit a friend, and her mother in law owns a small farm. She was doing some pickling, and we helped her with it, and she was trying out a pickled tomatillo recipe.

The brine was boiled and then poured into the jars (which had been in the oven), but they werent heated after that. According to her, these will be ready a bit before christmas, so after about 6 weeks.

So.... which bit of info is the weakest link?
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:26 AM   #7
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Well, we've reached the limit of my canning expertise. Maybe someone with more experience will chime in.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:17 AM   #8
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I love these discussions of the best ways to poison yourself. Partially kidding, but these are actually serious issues.

If the brine is being boiled first, it is not a fermented pickle and everything must refrigerated or canned (pasteurized). Old recipes often did not require this and science has shown this can be potentially dangerous. Old recipes should be tossed.

Fermentation is the intentional growing of bacteria, but in such a way to confine the good bacteria and keep out the bad stuff. If the precautions are not followed you end up with a spoiled product. Eventually the fermented product must be refrigerated or canned.

Canning is pasteurizing the product so it can be stored at room temperature without spoilage. The disadvantage is that the food is 'cooked' which can effect the crispness and other qualities of the food.

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. What is important is knowing the reasons and methods for each of them. No shortcuts unless you want to potentially poison yourself.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:08 PM   #9
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My roommate does not boil the brine. I did because I was going to refrigerate them and thought why not. What is it about boiling the brine that means the pickles will not ferment? Is it that the brine is added while still hot?

I see most refrigerator pickles call for 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Is this because they do not ferment and the flavor is somehow different?


Still wondering about the 6 week tomatillos.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
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MyWhat is it about boiling the brine that means the pickles will not ferment?
Boiling kills the active bacteria.
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I see most refrigerator pickles call for 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Is this because they do not ferment and the flavor is somehow different?
They are called 'quick pickles' because they use vinegar instead of fermentation.

Refrigerator pickles are not "cooked" so they are much crunchier, but the brine must be boiled first and poured over the food to kill most active bacteria. Refrigeration will then slow down any further bacteria growth for a short period.
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