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Old 07-20-2020, 03:40 PM   #1
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Pickle recipe help

I am growing some pickling cucumbers so I can get into pickling this year. I've tried multiple batches with very inconsistent results. From what I can tell, it can take a very long time to make a very flavorful pickle but I've seen many recipes saying as little as 2 days. The two recipes I've tried are from Alton Brown (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...recipe-1950656) and another website (https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/easy-r...ickles-recipe/). Due to quantity of pickles and size of jars, I haven't matched these recipes verbatim. I'm trying to hone in on a flavor I like, which tends to be more towards the Claussen kosher dill flavor profile.


First recipe I did I used Alton's and it was good. Really good pickle flavor punch at the beginning. But every other time I've made it, it's been a little bland. The other recipe, I'm finding at least, has way too much vinegar for my taste. 3 tbsp for 1.5 cups of water is more vinegar than I like. But this recipe too doesn't have enough flavor.


What I noticed on the first attempt that worked was it had a very strong briney punch to it up front. I haven't reproduced it since though. Can anyone offer advice how to up the flavor of pickle? And if you have suggestions on where I can improve on these recipes, I'd be happy to hear. Thank you!

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Old 07-20-2020, 04:29 PM   #2
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In Alton Brown's recipe, are you keeping the brine at the same proportions of water to salt?
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Old 07-20-2020, 04:41 PM   #3
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In Alton Brown's recipe, are you keeping the brine at the same proportions of water to salt?

I did. But it makes me wonder if the first time I tried, I included more salt so it was more salty and perhaps what I'm looking for. It's the only idea I've had.
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Old 07-20-2020, 05:34 PM   #4
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making small batches. . . . weigh everything, to the gram.


hopefully you are using the same vinegar - acid strength varies enormously in vinegar. check the % of acetic acid - should be on the label.


as for time to max flavor - 'the internet' has two hours to six weeks.....
so stick with reputable sources. bloggers and puff pieces by magazines are not reliable information.


also be sure you're on the same page of "refrigerator pickles" vs. long term canned pickles. very different approaches to "a pickle"
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Old 07-20-2020, 06:37 PM   #5
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A couple of general rules that Ive come across over the years.
Refrigerator pickles, vinegar based pickles and any recipe where you cut the cucumber, whether its spears, halves or slices will speed up the pickling process significantly . Those are the ones that are ready in a couple of days.

Fermented pickles take time to get that fermented flavor ( anywhere from 5 - 10 days depending on a bunch of factors ( size of cukes, amount of salt, duration of time pickled, heat of room they are pickling in..)
- amount of pickling time will depend on how pickled you want them . I like that at all phases ( from cucumbery (days 1- 3) to very sour (7 + days). and everywhere in between. I usually cant resist and taste them every day and make small modifications and enjoy them at every level of pickling).

Also, size and shape of the cucumber will throw off the pickling process. ideally if you can use cukes that are all similar size, shape. cucumbers that are kinda skinny on one end and bulbous on the other pickle inconsistently within themselves. In most cases the thiner, less round ones will pickle quicker that the rounder, more robust ones ( and also have more of a crunch to them due to the lack of developed seeds inside).

For a vinegar pickle recipe, I actually find the 3 Tbs of vinegar to 1.5 water ration actually kinda light. Most I see are a 3:2 water to vinegar ratio up to a 1: 1 .

I actually found a recipe that ha the same vinegar to water ratio as that recipe you posted that I actually like a lot and in my opinion, kinda has that Clausen taste to it. Its a " Middle Eastern" pickle recipe, but I kinda omitted some of the spices to get the taste I was looking for, but keeping the vinegar, water, salt as is . What I cut out of the recipe was the ( allspice, Crystalized Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cardamom). They just weren't the taste I was looking for , but I kept in the Bay leaves, pepper corns, coriander, garlic and mustard seed ( in addition to the salt, vinegar water....). I sliced them and followed their directions and in about 2 - 3 days they were good to go.

https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-lif...cumber-pickles
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Old 07-20-2020, 06:39 PM   #6
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In addition to what I said before, by slicing or spearing them, you are likely to get a more uniform pickling due to the standardized size and shape. Id still avoid very overripe seedy cukes as they are more likely to be or get mushy.
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:10 PM   #7
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making small batches. . . . weigh everything, to the gram.


hopefully you are using the same vinegar - acid strength varies enormously in vinegar. check the % of acetic acid - should be on the label.


as for time to max flavor - 'the internet' has two hours to six weeks.....
so stick with reputable sources. bloggers and puff pieces by magazines are not reliable information.


also be sure you're on the same page of "refrigerator pickles" vs. long term canned pickles. very different approaches to "a pickle"

So far I've been using the same bottle of apple cider vinegar for each batch. There's no label on it anymore so I don't know the acidity level. I'll keep an eye on that wen I buy new. My preference for less fuss (and probably risk?) is for refrigerator pickles.
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:14 PM   #8
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A couple of general rules that Ive come across over the years.
Refrigerator pickles, vinegar based pickles and any recipe where you cut the cucumber, whether its spears, halves or slices will speed up the pickling process significantly . Those are the ones that are ready in a couple of days.

Fermented pickles take time to get that fermented flavor ( anywhere from 5 - 10 days depending on a bunch of factors ( size of cukes, amount of salt, duration of time pickled, heat of room they are pickling in..)
- amount of pickling time will depend on how pickled you want them . I like that at all phases ( from cucumbery (days 1- 3) to very sour (7 + days). and everywhere in between. I usually cant resist and taste them every day and make small modifications and enjoy them at every level of pickling).

For less fuss I'm preferring to go with a fridge pickle. I also don't have room at this moment to store a significant number of pickles for weeks on end.


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Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
For a vinegar pickle recipe, I actually find the 3 Tbs of vinegar to 1.5 water ration actually kinda light. Most I see are a 3:2 water to vinegar ratio up to a 1: 1 .

So maybe vinegar pickles aren't for me. I can do some experimentation as it does probably have a place in my recipe but to me, 3:2 sounds pretty rough and not something my wife and I would enjoy.


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Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
I actually found a recipe that ha the same vinegar to water ratio as that recipe you posted that I actually like a lot and in my opinion, kinda has that Clausen taste to it. Its a " Middle Eastern" pickle recipe, but I kinda omitted some of the spices to get the taste I was looking for, but keeping the vinegar, water, salt as is . What I cut out of the recipe was the ( allspice, Crystalized Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cardamom). They just weren't the taste I was looking for , but I kept in the Bay leaves, pepper corns, coriander, garlic and mustard seed ( in addition to the salt, vinegar water....). I sliced them and followed their directions and in about 2 - 3 days they were good to go.

https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-lif...cumber-pickles

I may try this one and see how it goes. I have enough pickles coming in that I can experiment with flavors to eventually hone in what I want. Thank you so much for your response though.
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:58 PM   #9
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For less fuss I'm preferring to go with a fridge pickle. I also don't have room at this moment to store a significant number of pickles for weeks on end.

So maybe vinegar pickles aren't for me. I can do some experimentation as it does probably have a place in my recipe but to me, 3:2 sounds pretty rough and not something my wife and I would enjoy.
All pickles are pretty tart. It's the high acidity that preserves them. You could try bread and butter pickles, since they have sugar as well, but the vinegar ratio is generally 1:1 for safe preserving. Here's one recipe:

https://foodinjars.com/recipe/small-...utter-pickles/

Btw, you can pickle all kinds of vegetables - not just cucumbers.
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Old 07-21-2020, 05:21 PM   #10
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I have some vinegar free pickles fermenting in my basement, in two gallon jars. I just skimmed the foam from them for the second time.
Top of the fermenting pickles, on 5th day. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Naturally fermenting pickles, on the 5th day. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

This is the first time I've done this kind - not sure what I'm doing, but it seems to be going well, as there are no off smells. I used the brine Alton Brown had in a recipe - 5˝ oz to a gallon of filtered water - plus 2 tsp food grade calcium chloride ("crisp"). I used some dill seed, but also some of the heads from some of the bolting dill, and I used some garlic scapes, for that flavor. We'll see what happens...
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Old 07-21-2020, 11:18 PM   #11
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I have some vinegar free pickles fermenting in my basement, in two gallon jars. I just skimmed the foam from them for the second time.
Top of the fermenting pickles, on 5th day. by pepperhead212, on Flickrk
Fermented pickles are tart from the lactic acid, as opposed from the acetic acid in vinegar pickles. So which one someone likes depends on taste, but they're both pretty tart.
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:44 AM   #12
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Only kinda pickle I dont like is sweet. I tried making them once ( cause my wife liked them). I had a lot of smaller cukes due to it being later in the season, and I wanted to clear the cake vines, so I just stripped the vines of everything that was on it, and took a shot at making Gherkin Pickles. Not only was the process a pain in the butt, but my wife didnt even finish them ( even thought she thought they were great, im guessing she was lying to make me feel good). Anyway, I now chalk that one up as a been there, done that. I am always up to new pickle recipes and techniques.

And one of the most important things I forgot to mention in one of my previous posts. Whatever you do, keep the cukes submerged in the brine during the pickling process. Once the pop their heads above water, they can rot and ruin the whole jar. What I usually do is make extra brine, so every time I take a pickled during the process,I just top it off to keep them submerged. The best way is not to keep snacking on them, and let them all get to the level of pickleness you want, but for me its irresistible not to taste them all the time. The last 2 years ive made 70+ quarts of pickles. This year ,looks like it will be 1/2 that , due to the vines already on their last legs. I have a second planting in ( whchis 1/4 the amount I originally plant due to space issues) and a third planting that haven't even germinated yet ( which Im not sure if they will even have the time to set fruit).
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:51 AM   #13
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Btw, you can pickle all kinds of vegetables - not just cucumbers.
I've pickled String beans, scallions, beets , onions, eggplant, peppers Okra once but it was too slimy for my liking.

Also, for variety, ill often toss something ' extra' into a batch of pickles for that additional twist. Things Ive tried , with some success, is Pieces of Horse Radish, Ginger, Hot peppers, Scallion, Peppers.
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:14 PM   #14
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I've pickled String beans, scallions, beets , onions, eggplant, peppers Okra once but it was too slimy for my liking.

Also, for variety, ill often toss something ' extra' into a batch of pickles for that additional twist. Things Ive tried , with some success, is Pieces of Horse Radish, Ginger, Hot peppers, Scallion, Peppers.
Right now I have Mexican pickled red onions, Szechuan pickled green beans, pickled mustard seeds, pickled watermelon rinds, pickled cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon radish, sweet & sour pickled roasted red & yellow peppers, and bread and butter pickles for DH. I don't like most sweet ones, either, except the watermelon rind (sweet, tangy and spicy) and pickled apples with honey, ginger and cider vinegar.
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:26 PM   #15
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Right now I have Mexican pickled red onions, Szechuan pickled green beans, pickled mustard seeds, pickled watermelon rinds, pickled cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon radish, sweet & sour pickled roasted red & yellow peppers, and bread and butter pickles for DH. I don't like most sweet ones, either, except the watermelon rind (sweet, tangy and spicy) and pickled apples with honey, ginger and cider vinegar.
Ill probably hit you up for the pickled apple recipe in a few months.

I just got my first attempt at Szechuan green beans going this morning. Looking forward to giving them a taste.
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:11 PM   #16
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Ill probably hit you up for the pickled apple recipe in a few months.

I just got my first attempt at Szechuan green beans going this morning. Looking forward to giving them a taste.
Sure! I'll post it now so everyone can take a look. Put it on your calendar

http://archive.boston.com/lifestyle/...ickled_apples/
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:16 PM   #17
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Sure! I'll post it now so everyone can take a look. Put it on your calendar [/url]
Already bookmarked the recipe page in my 'Untried Recipes' folder, but got it on the calendar for Mid September as a reminder

Now I just have to make. reminder for my reminder

Sucks getting old
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Old 07-23-2020, 10:03 PM   #18
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Those pickles are starting to smell like the real things now, on the 7th day. Almost all have turned to the "pickle green"; only a few specks on a couple with the bright green, like they start with.

So is there a way of canning these lacto-fermented pickles? Do they have enough acid for water bath, or would I have to add some citric acid, or something like that?
I'm new at this - only bread and butter, and refrigerator pickles, up to now.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:43 AM   #19
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Already bookmarked the recipe page in my 'Untried Recipes' folder, but got it on the calendar for Mid September as a reminder

Now I just have to make. reminder for my reminder

Sucks getting old
At least you have a reminder!
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:45 AM   #20
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Those pickles are starting to smell like the real things now, on the 7th day. Almost all have turned to the "pickle green"; only a few specks on a couple with the bright green, like they start with.

So is there a way of canning these lacto-fermented pickles? Do they have enough acid for water bath, or would I have to add some citric acid, or something like that?
I'm new at this - only bread and butter, and refrigerator pickles, up to now.
You need to add vinegar and salt. Here's a recipe for that: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/dill_pickles.html
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