So today, using a recipe and instructions from Wild Fermentation, I got it started.
First, I had to find some pickling cucumbers. This may not always be as easy as it sounds. After checking a couple of our regular grocery stores and one farmer's market, Fayme and I visited Super King Market in Anaheim, CA.
Note to self: never, ever, visit a new market at 4:00 pm on a Friday afternoon. The place was packed with people getting food for dinner and for the weekend. And I mean really packed!
Super King Market is a great store that reflects our ethnically diverse area. I found the pickling cucumbers I was looking for, some olives I craved, some curry mix for a later dinner, and Fayme got pita bread, humus, and tahina sauce that she's been looking for forever. For the future, I also found a good source for lamb in their butcher department.
So today I got the cucumbers all washed off, the garlic peeled, and the water and salt mixed.
I ran into one possible problem. The recipe calls for fresh grape leaves or a variety of other fresh leaves as the tannins help the cucumbers retain their crispness. I was unable to find any fresh leaves so I got a jar of grape leaves in the hopes that they will do the job. If they don't, I'll know better for next time. And in any case, now I have most of a jar of grape leaves so I can try making stuffed grape leaves in the near future. That'll be another post.
I mixed the salt in an empty apple juice bottle for the sake of convenience. After getting the seasonings into the big jar I packed in the cucumbers and poured in the brine.
Now I've run into another problem that I should have foreseen. In order to ferment properly the cucumbers need to be under the brine solution. Typically this is done by putting everything into a ceramic crock and putting a clean plate on top with a weight of some kind to push it all down. Having packed things into this jar there was no way for me to push the cucumbers down.
For Plan B I just transferred everything to the bucket I used for the sauerkraut and put the cut-down lid on top with the jar full of water to hold it all down.
Now, we wait. As the fermentation process starts I'll keep any mold that forms skimmed off the top. After three or four days I'll take out a cucumber/pickle and see how they are going. At some point I'll put everything into the jar and make room in the refrigerator.
Pickling is a preservation process for food so I could leave it all out of the 'fridge. But I live in a rather warm climate so the fermentation may get to a point that the pickles won't taste as good to me and I can stop the process at a good taste with the refrigeration.
I'll make updates as this project runs its course.
If you'd like to read about the sauerkraut I made just click on Something Fun That Tastes Good and read all about it.
Thanks for reading!