June 30, 2010

It Can't Always Work Out

I love pickles.  I really love kosher dill pickles.  I thought I'd be adventurous and attempt to make them; the kind you ferment in canning jars or crocks in a salt water brine, tucked away in a dark corner of the kitchen.   When they're on the table at a Jewish deli, I can easily make a meal out of them.  The dill, the garlic bite, the snap of skin as you bite into it, mmmmm.  And then there was all this internet chatter and "ooh-ing" and "aww-ing" over this recipe that it transitioned to a no fail idea in my head and I was off to buy the cucumbers.  Nevermind the tiny voice in the back of my head reminding me of the time my Mom tried to make the same kind of pickles, only it must have been too warm out because they started to grow fuzzy and had to be tossed.  No, this wouldn't happen to me.

And in a sense, it didn't happen to me.  My pickles didn't grow fuzzy, though I wish they would have, so I wouldn't have had to chew a bite and experience first-hand all the ways these pickles went wrong.

It could have been the Morton's Kosher salt.  Now that it's after the fact, I keep reading that it has this acrid aftertaste and that teaspoon for teaspoon it's nearly twice as salty and dense as Diamond brand kosher salt or pickling salt.  These pickles were definitely too salty and that acrid aftertaste slapped me in the mouth instantly.  It could have been the pickling spice mixture.  I really wasn't into the ginger and cloves in there, though that's more a personal preference, there was just too much going on.  It could have been the sneaky cucumber spears, always trying to rise up and out of the brine, exposing themselves to whatever microbes that are dancing in the air.  There was certainly something funky going on in there, that tinge of cloying sweetness that food only gets when it's going rancid.  Maybe I didn't wash the cucumbers well enough, maybe I didn't properly sterilize the jar. The list goes on.

So for now, I think I'll stick with vinegar-based pickling, get back on more stable ground, gain some more confidence.  Man, I hate getting so bummed out when things don't work.

But I am thankful that I only made a half of a batch!

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