On Sunday, and I went to the farmers’ market in Coventry, CT. They say it’s one of the best and the largest in New England. Even the Boston Globe says so. It’s also on the grounds of Founding Martyr (St. Sebastian in Tricorne) Nathan Hale’s homestead, so you get your dose of revolutionary democracy at the same time. I like it.
They taught pickling in three workshops, of which I attended two: one on bread-and-butter pickles, and one on brine pickling. The brine pickles are considerably less work, since they only involve loading the jars, letting them ferment on the counter for three days, and then storing them. The bread-and-butter pickles involve considerably more work, such as boiling jars and lids, measuring vinegar carefully and all manner of strange alchemies. I want to try it, but not at 11:40pm on a worknight — especially not the same week that ‘s mom is coming for an overnight visit.
All the same, the brine pickles seemed pretty easy. I had some pickling cukes from the markets this week, so I measured out my water, and added sea salt: 1 tablespoon sea salt to 1 quart of spring water = 1.8% salinity. So 1 tablespoon of sea salt added to 1 pint of spring water = 3.6% salinity, and adding just a little more salt gives you about a 4% salinity, which is perfect for brine pickles according to Rosmari Roast, of Walk in the Woods, Inc.. I loaded up two clean jars with wedges small and large of cucumbers, added in some herbs and peppercorns, and then poured the brine in over them. I added 1 oak leaf to each jar; the tannins in the leaf are supposed to help the pickles maintain crispness. You then loosely screw the lids in place, and give them 2-4 days on the counter to ferment in the jar. When they begin to smell sour, screw the lids down tightly, and store in a cool, dark place.
I also made refrigerator pickles with what remained of the pickling cukes, but I really want to learn some canning techniques this summer for the rest of the season’s vegetables. And next summer, I really want a garden of my own.