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Pickled Vegetables — The Grow Network Community
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Pickled Vegetables

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

I was just watching another workshop and the presenter showed an image of the most gorgeous looking jars of pickled vegetables. Of course I checked their website and no recipe was shown.

I've tried at least a half dozen other recipes and I still haven't found one I like that much. They always come out too soft and mushy.

I am looking for the trick which keeps the veges raw and crisp but with the pickled flavor.

Anyone have a recipe like that?

(Here's a picture of something close to the image I saw in the workshop

but it is from another company.)


  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,204 admin

    Okay... here is my secret..... KOMBUCHA. You can also use water kefir... or whey to speed up a traditional salt brine. But, honestly, just over soured, plain kombucha (with salt and spices) is the very best pickling medium I have ever found. It will pickle anything from cucumbers to boiled eggs... even sausage. Nothing ever spoils. Veggies stay crisp. Flavors are excellent! BTW, I own a small pickle business.

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 do you use JUST booch.. no salt and water etc, and how many days to the final pickle??

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 yes, as lmrebert asked can you give us the full directions please? In my case the whey won't work btw since I am dairy allergic. Thanks

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 how much salt compared to if it were just a water salt brine?

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,204 admin

    I can't answer that because I don't know how much veggies you have or how salty you like things. Just go by taste. Try a batch. Use less than you would with just a salt water brine. Taste... add more if necessary. Be sure to dissolve it in kombucha or water before adding.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,204 admin

    Salt is not necessary for the ferment, the kombucha will do it. Just try it... you could even use no salt. Use your taste buds. Just grab a 79 cent bag of carrots at the grocery store, throw them in kombucha and see what happens... Or onions... onions are great! Or both or something else.

  • sallyhowardsallyhoward AustraliaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭

    That sounds great! I will definitely try kombucha pickling. Thanks for sharing.

  • pamelamackenziepamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    Have you tried instant pickling using a vacuum seal bag? I have not but have seen it done on several cooking shows. It is not for long term storage but you could make quick pickled veggies for immediate consumption. They probably would not have time to get mushy that way.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @pamelamackenzie I am not familiar with the process you mentioned but then I'm also not sure if you mean it is some kind of pickling mix we purchase that is just done in a plastic bag or if it is a standard brine we make and prepare in a bag.

    The chances pf me making it from a purchased mix or very slim though. Too many chemicals in the mixture. I really do make and eat all of my food from scratch. Chemical allergies is a problem for me so instead of trying to avoid the culprits it's easier to just not use any packaged mixes.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Were the vegetables that you used fresh? I only ask because I have been lacto-fermenting off and on for about 5 or more years now and only recently had that issue. I had gotten some older cucumbers from my father and even with the oak leaves (as tannin) most of them were soft and not crisp.

    I typically do a Himalayan Salt Water brine.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @Obiora E yes I grow all my own veges so they come straight from my garden and always get processed the same day. I just pick the varieties I have in mind so I can go in and do them within hours.

    I also use Himilayan sea salt but I was beginning to think maybe it was the salt. I know it's a good brand of salt so I once tried it with Aztec sea salt also with pretty much the same results.

    And I've never tried it with oak leaves since there's no oak trees around here. I won't just go pick some I happen to see in the closest town because I don't know what their spraying schedule is.

    I kind of hate all this trial and error though because if they get to soft I end up just throwing it away. I won't eat it like that and there is no one else in my family which would dream of trying it. So I've pretty much slowed down making it the last few months because I was wasting all my fresh produce from my garden.

  • pamelamackenziepamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    The vacuum seal pickling method uses your pickling mix and veggies. Place in vacuum seal bag and remove air with a vacuum sealer. The removal of air makes the pickling brine go into the veggies immediately. Not sure it would work well with raw carrots since they may be too hard to absorb the liquid. TV chefs also marinate meat instantly that way, meat and marinate in bag and vacuum it. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, then if you have Nextdoor where you live or some other similar online community of your neighbors, you could ask to borrow a vacuum sealer to try it out. People on my area's Nextdoor are always borrowing things from neighbors -- lawn mowers, steam cleansers, old saddles for photo shoots, VCR to watch old video, golf cart for Halloween. People seem to love to help out.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @pamelahoward55 I'm not sure my vac sealer would accomplish this. I have one of the seal-a -meal units and it works great as long as the contents is "dry".

    Every time I try to seal something with a lot of liquid content as the air gets sucked out, the liquids get sucked up to the top of the bag also. Then it won't seal because it's too juicy. That's why I always have to flash freeze everything which has a high liquid content (think most fruits, cucumbers, tomatoes etc.)

    But yes I could see how what you say is a really good idea. I'll give it a try anyway and see what happens. Thanks.

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 423 ✭✭✭

    I'm sitting here sipping on Kombucha as I read this. Mine is flavored, guava goodness, so I can't get the pickle thing going in my mouth right now. Interesting though. May have to try that.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    Oak leaves aren't the only leaves that will keep your pickles crisp! I use raspberry leaves, with good success. I've also heard of using grape leaves or black tea leaves, but I have not tried them

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @blevinandwomba I've never heard that raspberry leaves would also give success. I have an entire raspberry patch so I"m to have to give that a try. Thanks

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 736 admin
  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 ok NOW I will make kombucha. If I make something just for me (my family will not partake in Kombucha) then it has to have multiple uses. I’m also the one that eats pickles, but I do love them SO.

    Yep, I’m excited. Gonna ask a friend for a start tomorrow!

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes!!! The Kombucha worked great for my pickles thanks to @judsoncarroll4 for the great tip!! My pickles were yummy crisp and ready in a few days in warmer climate and about a week when it got colder 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Iris WeaverIris Weaver Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    @blevinandwomba What you are going for with oak leaves is the tannins. Raspberry leaves and balckberry leaves also have some tannins and so would serve the purpose. As would black tea leaves and staghorn or smooth sumac leaves.

  • DesireeDesiree Posts: 209 ✭✭✭

    I am curious, what is the shelf life of the cucumber/veggies when made with kombucha since they aren't canned/processed?

  • AnnAnn Posts: 10 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2020

    I’ve had good results using grape leaves.

  • How does this work with water kefir? It's more on the sweet side, even after fermenting. Do you use the finished kefir from the first ferment? Ohhh...sweet ;pickles would be good, not too sweet. This is a fantastic thread! Glad Marjory put this in the newsletter.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 466 ✭✭✭✭

    @blevinandwomba I have used black tea in pickles and it worked pretty good. I just made cauliflower pickles and topped it off with kombucha to try it out. Worked great!

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,204 admin
    edited February 2020

    @WendyO'Neill Water kefir also jumpstarts the fermentation, so that does help get the job done quickly, which helps keep things from going mushy. But, water kefir doesn't contain tannins - so, adding a bay leaf, grape leaf or some tea is still a good idea to keep cukes crisp. Also, you are correct that since water kefir is less acidic, it does result in less sour pickles.... at least, in the short term. You can sweeten and spice them, then refrigerate to slow fermentation.... but not long term.

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