If I pickle a cucumber, is it a pickle, or just a soggy cucumber? The reason I ask this, is there is a little shop near my work that sells the biggest pickles I’ve ever seen, yet they still aren’t as big as a cucumber. Seeing as though they are using these massive pickles as a bit of a selling pointc, could I one-up them and sell cucumber sized pickles to the masses? Is there some sort of cucumberesque shrinkage that occurs in the pickling process? Are full grown cucumbers not fit for pickling? Could somebody please help me out of this pickle I’m in?
I don’t have any answers for you, NurseCarmen, but I do love giant pickles. They are yummy.
I remember when my mom made homemade pickles. They were made from smallish cucumbers. I don’t know if the bigger ones are good for pickling or not - maybe it takes too long for most places to reasonably make them in any type of quantity? Perhaps the pickling effect cannot get through all the way if the cucumber is too big.
Well, since pickling involves the use of salts, and cucumbers are vegetables high in water content, I’d say it’s safe to assume that there is some amount of shrinkage involved. Pickles are precisely that - pickled cucumbers.
Here’s one recipe for pickling cucumbers, which calls for “small tender” cucumbers. So perhaps there is some restraint on the size of the vegetables you’re planning to pickle.
When I was learning to pickle, the books (IIRC) said that the big salad type cucumbers made soggy pickles. I grew my own pickling cukes, and they are smaller and crisper.
I’m trying olives this year, since I didn’t grow a garden.
The skin of a regular salad cucumber gets awful tough as it gets bigger. Maybe the soloution can’t penetrate it well?
As Olentzero said, I believe that big cukes = mushy pickles. (Per my MIL, who cans every year.)
There are dozens of cucumber varieties. Some are good to eat but make icky pickles. The pickling type tend to be smaller, with tiny, soft seeds, & thin skins. Often, they aren’t very good to eat raw, very bitter
Nevertheless, the big soggy one is still a pickle. So is a carrot that’s been processed the same way. Pickling is a process not really the food.
I can’t remember where I saw it (some show on TV), but it was a show about a pickle cucumber farmer. The requirements were very close to 2" long for this particular pickle, so his harvest had to be strategically planned. A couple of days either side and the pickle plant passed on his product.
I’ve seen gigantic pickles that resembled large cucumbers sold at the Taste of Chicago festival. They were several inches long and rather fat. I didn’t have one, so I’m not sure how crisp they were, nor how well-pickled they were. No idea if they were overgrown pickling cucumbers or regular ones.
I’ve seen small fresh cucumber-like vegetables sold as either “pickling cucumbers” or “pickles” before, and have in fact made them into pickles. I think crispness can also depend on what you add to the pickling recipe - there was something I was supposed to add if I wanted a crisper pickle, but I didn’t.
“Pickle” is such a great word.
Two inches ain’t much of a pickle, really. Any deli worth its salt will have much bigger pickles for sale at the counter - maybe about 4" to 6" in length. Those are better pickles, IMHO - they use just the brine and some spices, and no FD&C yellow dye or anything like that. So it doesn’t look as green as, say, Vlasic, but they are very, very good pickles nonetheless.
cowgirl: Pickle pickle pickle.
A pickle is simply made with a variety of cucumber called pickeling cucumbers. They do not get quite as big as a regular cuke but I have grown on accident a few this year by not seeing the little buggers hiding under the leaves that were 7 inches long and almost as big as a quart jar circumference. Normal cucumbers that you use in salads have a natural waxy coating that does not allow the salty pickling brine to penetrate the cucumber like it does for the pickeling cucumbers. Also, pickeling cucumbers are bitter only when they do not get enough water during the growing season.
Too much gardening TV shows for me or at least that is what my wife says.
Actually, you can ‘pickle’ many veggies and still have them called pickles. Example: Jar of cauliflower, carrots, and cucumber chunks in my grocery store is called ‘mixed pickles’.
However, it does seem that just the generic term ‘pickle’ has come to mean a cucumber pickle. There are beet pickles, okra pickles, and pickled peppers, but they seem to have the name of the vegetable attached to the term.
When a cucumber gets very large, it has many more seeds in the center. Seedy pickles are yucky! So the small the pickles, the fewer the seeds!
And, of course, I must interject here that the world’s best dill pickle is a DEEP FRIED one!! Dipped in ranch dressing.
Yeah, those skins can be nasty on a pickle. I suppose there’s no harm in making a small batch to try though. Mmmm pickles.
What you can do is peel most of the skin off, slice thinly and mix with a sweet vinaigrette dressing. Makes a nice salad.
I have seen giant pickles-on-a-stick before. Never tried one, but I don’t like pickles. They were probably about 6 or more inches long and decently fat. Very phallic. Watching my gay friend Wayne eat one was rather disturbing.