3 - 2007

Pickle update: A stinky crock

When I first wrote about making fermented pickles, I reported success with my first batch.

With the second batch, I did have some mold develop quicker than I expected (I must confess, after my first easy-peasy experience, I let the pickles hang out alone without my watchful eye for a couple of days). I skimmed off the mold, added fresh brine and processed those pickles in the hot water canner. I think they’ll be okay, although Mr. Cheap prematurely opened a jar and reported that they’re really salty. (The better to kill the germs and raise your blood pressure!)

Last week, I launched another batch that acquired a yellowish scum and then some little spots of mold. Worse, however, was that the batch gradually acquired an odor that could be described as “off” or … like chicken soup. I’m pretty sure dill pickles are not supposed to smell like chicken soup.

Sadly, that batch went into the compost. Luckily, my little cucumber garden is barreling ahead at full speed, and I expect I can try again in a day or two — and that’s in addition to three quarts of curry pickles I made today, and the half-dozen cucumbers I sold at our yard sale on Saturday (note to wannabe market farmers: The cucumbers were the most popular item at the sale).

I’m not sure what happened. I was not sure if I got enough salt in there. I might have had too many cucumbers packed in for the amount of liquid. Or perhaps it was just too hot in our basement — the weather has been warm and our swamp cooler sprang a leak that we didn’t fix until Wednesday.

Next time, I think I might try this recipe from the Montana State University Extension, which includes a dash of vinegar to help kill the yucky things.  Wish me luck — and please let me know how pickling is going for you.

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