Monday, October 20, 2014

Green Tea and Garlic Pickles from The Paleo Approach

While looking through Sarah Ballantyne's The Paleo Approach Cookbook, I decided it was high time to put my fears of fermenting aside.  Her Green Tea & Garlic Pickles seemed like a good fermenting gateway recipe.  Heck, if I can conquer kombucha, I can do this, and so can you.  

I gathered my ingredients and go to work.  

I started by preparing the brining liquid which is essentially salty tea.  My electric tea kettle has a green tea setting, so I filled it up and pushed the button.  I used pink Himalayan salt.   

Once the water was ready, I poured it over the tea bags and salt.  I gave it a good stir to make sure the salt dissolved into the tea.

While the brining liquid cooled, I sliced the cucumbers.  I don't have a mandolin and I can never seem get get my food processor to give me consistent results with the slicing blade, so I decided to just use a knife.  It really didn't take that long to do.  

Once I was done slicing, I mixed the cucumbers with the garlic. 

I decided to use the same jar as I used for my kumbucha brewing.  When I make these again, I'll likely choose differently.  Keep reading for why.  I placed the dill in the bottom of the jar and added the pickles and garlic on top.  

Once the liquid was cool, I poured it over the soon to be pickles.  

I didn't realize that I had likely made a less than optimal decision with respect to my fermenting vessel until I realized I didn't have a good weight for the cucumbers.  I went through a variety of ramekins and food storage vessels and finally decided on a 16 ounce Corning Ware storage bowl.  It wasn't perfect but it held down the cucumbers better than anything else I tried.  You can see I had some floaters.  I realized that those would likely mold and I was ok with that. 

Next time, I'm going to put some more thought into the vessel I use.  I'll also have some cabbage handy.  I've read that you can use a cabbage leaf to hold the pickles down under the brine under the weight.  I didn't have any the day I made these.  

I covered the jar with a towel and rubber band and moved it to a place where it would be out of the way and undisturbed.  

I was going to check the pickles after 3 days, but I completely forgot about them.  I decided to go ahead and jar them on the fourth day.  As I suspected, the floating pickles, did mold a bit.  

There was also some general foaming.  That is normal.  I carefully removed my weight and spooned/wiped out any mold I saw.  Of course, I discarded any pickle slices that had been floating.  I actually emailed Sarah to see if this was ok in light of the mold, or if should start over.  She said it should be fine.

I portioned the pickles into two jars and poured the brine over them.  I placed them in the refrigerator to chill.  

Here are my finished pickles.  They aren't the prettiest pickles, but looks don't mean everything.  

Nope, they don't look any better fanned out.  Shoot. 

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find everything you need to make the pickles pretty inexpensively at your "big box" grocery store.  

Preparation & Cooking Time: Sarah gives a stated preparation time of 20 minutes.  I'd say that is just about right.  Then depending on whether you slice, wedge or leave the pickles whole, you have anywhere from 3-10 days to let them ferment.  I let mine ferment for 4 days.  

Clean Up:  Everything except my wooden spoon (and electric kettle of course) went into the dishwasher.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up (with further experimentation needed)!  After the pickles had chilled, I gave them a taste.  They had a nice dill flavor.  If you're looking for a pickle that tastes like store bought, this is not the recipe for you.  This is a recipe that I'm going to have to experiment with a few times to figure out what fermenting time gives me the pickle flavor I like.  But as a first try, the recipe works.  As I make these again and try different periods of time, I'll update the post.  

If you've been afraid of trying pickle making, get a copy of Sarah's book and give this recipe a try.  

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Sources/Affiliate Disclosure-  I received a review copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook from its publisher; however, all of my opinions expressed here are my own.  I own the etsy store Cavegirl Couture and make all of the products it sells.  This post contains affiliate links for which the blog earns a small commission if you purchase items through those links.