Making non-lethal pickles

OK folks, I’m out of pickles. I was brung up on home made pickles and simply can’t eat industrial pickles. They taste like, bad. To me. They are “ickles.” So now it’s crunch time. I can’t make a decent tuna salad, I can’t possibly make a decent burger, and let’s face it, what’s a Lord Of The Rings movie without a humongous superhot dill pickle & a tall glass of milk? That’s right, it just another Peter Jackson movie.

I’ve made myself scads of jams & jellies using apples, strawberries, grapes and mangoes without finishing with a heat process (I’m told I’m lucky to be alive–and with the fruit flavor retained by avoiding additional heat beyond the initial fruit magma I quite agree, but for a different reason); and I’ve made pickles before using a heat process. But that was at sea level so I didn’t have to boil the stuff for 8 days like I will here above the mile high city. And even so I ended up with a decent batch of pickles, but they were a bit soft. Not mushy, but lacking a satisfying crunch factor.

So I want to make my pickles this time around without a heat process to cook them into mush. Just boiling brine, granny’s almost completely secret mix of spices, and cucmbers. Am I going to die? Or is there a ph level I need to be looking for that will keep me from overpowering my system with home-brewed botox?

I have a fantastic garlic dill pickle recipe that doesn’t boil the pickles into mush, and it hasn’t killed me yet, either.

It uses a strong brine (1/2 cups pickling salt : 2 cups white vinegar : 8 cups water : 4 pounds of pickles). Boil it until the salt dissolves, then let this cool to room temperature. Stuff jars with dill heads, chillies, garlic, coriander seed, and - of course - pickles. Add cooled brine to cover. Close the jars, stick them in the fridge, and forget about them for a few weeks.

You can add, adjust, or omit seasonings to your liking.

I use a recipe for winter dills from an old (~1900) copy of The Settlement Cook Book: The Way to a Man’s Heart. It hasn’t killed me yet, and I see no reason why it should.

Pardon my ignorance, but why would something “pickled” be able to kill you if not boiled? Are we talking about botulism here or something less sinister?

Some caveats on fermented pickles here.
IMHO, the national center for home food preservation goes a little overboard with pressure cookers, but if you follow their recipes, you’ll very likely NOT poison yourself.

Third floor! Cooking threads, straight ahead to your left(or right, depending on your orientation).

Seriously, Cafe Society is where these belong.

Moved from GQ, by samclem GQ moderator

Were we going to share, or you just wanted us to be jealous? :wink:

Google “refrigerator pickles” for more recipes than you can shake a kosher dill at.

Personally, I tend to make more “bread & butter” pickles than any other. Grandma’s recipe works quite well, and they rarely last more than a week, in the fridge. They don’t go bad, mind you…we just eat them real quick! :smiley:

Do your grocery stores carry pickling cucumbers or do you grow them? I don’t think I’ve seen them offered for sale around here in the last five years.

Silenus, the problem around my house was that we could hardly wait for them to finish pickling so we could eat them! Bread ‘n’ butter pickles, yummm.

This thread reminds me that I wanted to find a recipe for hot dill baby corn pickles. Off to search!

I can get pickling cukes at the local farmer’s market, if I look for them.

A recipe, adapted.

15 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
3 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarse salt
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix cukes, onions, and salt in a bowl. Let set a couple of hours. Place the rest of the ingredients in a pan, and bring to an almost boil. Add drained cukes/onions. Simmer without boiling 5 minutes. Process in a hot water bath 10 minutes. Refrigerate until eaten.

You’d think living here, where half of everything in calif. is grown, we’d have a wild Farmer’s Market. Ha! Actually, I don’t know if any of the local farmers grow cucumbers of any kind. I know they’ve given up on asparagus. Which my mom pickled once. It was not good, no matter what the article claimed.

[sub]Silenus, why are you still up? Yer a teacher and should be in bed before dark. Oh wait, it’s summer, wheee![/sub]

Heat processing is only needed if you plan on keeping your pickles at room temp. for long-term storage. Refrigerator pickles are the way to go or freezer pickles. However, if you want a pickle with snap then you might want to try lime pickles. Not the citrus-type lime but calcium hydroxide; it’s usually found wherever you can buy canning supplies. Lime makes really crisp pickles but you have to be sure to rinse/soak away the excess lime because it can negate the acidity of the vinegar. The low pH inhibits bacteria, a good thing. Here’s an example of a lime pickle recipe. Sweet lime pickles are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. They’re well worth the effort.