When I visited Ed Bruske’s urban garden, I sampled several varieties of his homemade pickles. He had an impressive array of sour, dill, Cajun, bread and butter. Pickles are one of the few things I’ve never made before, so I decided that this summer I would try my hand.I decided to start with the Bread and Butter variety (it was either that or the dill). I really like pickle relish in my tuna and egg salads, so this seemed like a good beginning. Ed has a wonderful primer with recipes on his website that I used as my guide.
Since I didn’t have pickling lime, which seemed to be a key element in his recipe, I combined the salt ratio for the basic dill with the ingredients of the “bread and butter.” I cooked the pickles for half the recommended time in hopes of preserving the crunch. And if you can believe, I couldn’t find celery seed at the Whole Foods, so I used celery growing in the garden. The flavors came out wonderful. The texture was somewhere between firm and crunchy. I’ll leave full-on crunchy for the experts.
This is what I came up with:
Bread and Butter Pickles
4 cucumbers, sliced into ½ inch wheels
4 cups water
1/4 cup salt
1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 tbs. mustard seeds
1 celery stalk
¼ tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. clove
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
Black Pepper, freshly ground
Put everything in a stainless steel (or non-reactive pot). Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes. Let pickles stand overnight. They will keep for 2 weeks this way or you can can them.
The garden continues to proliferate cucumbers. With early success in the first pickle venture, I decided to try again with half sour dills.
This time I followed Ed's recipe more closely.
Half-Sour Dill Pickles
For every 2 cups of water, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Use enough water to cover cucumber wedges. Add crushed garlic, fresh dill and black pepper. Let sit for at least 24 hours to ferment before storing in the fridge or canning.