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Pickle Power

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Pickle Power

Few can resist the crrrunch</EM> of a crisp pickle. From fancy linens to checkered picnic blankets, this culinary classic has found its way to tabletops everywhere.

Few can resist the crrrunch of a crisp pickle. From fancy linens to checkered picnic blankets, this culinary classic has found its way to tabletops everywhere. So why not add one more recipe with added health benefits to your list of canning favorites? For centuries, civilizations everywhere have enjoyed lactic acid fermented vegetables.

Lactic acid is an organic acid that doesn’t acidify the body. Fermentation of this type will not only preserve your pickles, but the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria will also produce additional nutritional value. The products of fermentation further help digestion by supporting the stomach, intestines and pancreas. The following fermented pickle recipe promises both delectable and healthful results.

Pickle Fixings

Sanitized preserving jars may be used for this recipe. The essential thing is that the lids close tightly. You may have to use double rubber rings to ensure a neat, tight fit.

Select small or medium-sized, hard cucumbers for fermentation. For a two quart/litre preserving jar, you will need:

2 pounds (about 1 kg) cucumbers
1-2 bay leaves
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh horseradish root (available in Chinese markets)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) mustard seeds
1 Tbsp (15 mL) pickling or sea salt (30 g for 1 litre of water)
lots of fresh dill, leaves and blossom
1 stem fresh tarragon
1 small onion, sliced in rings or quartered

Clean and brush the cucumbers to rid them of any dirt. Poke holes in them with a knitting needle or fork to facilitate the exchange of fluids. Larger cucumbers will have to be cut into pieces.

Firmly pack the cucumbers, onion, garlic and herbs in the jars until the container is almost 90-percent full. Make a salt-water solution by dissolving one tablespoon (15 mL) of pickling or sea salt in one quart or litre of boiling water. Fill the jar with hot, salted water, making sure there is half an inch (1 cm) layer of liquid on top of the cucumbers. Carbonic acid needs room to form in the space and create a "vacuum" effect.

For really crunchy pickles, use lots of horseradish. Another tip: adding one tablespoon (15 mL) of balsamic vinegar or two tablespoons (30 mL) of wine vinegar per litre of salt brine gives a delicate bite to your fermented pickle flavors.

Try not to disturb the jars once they have been sealed. Leave them at room temperature for eight to 10 days. Then put them in a cold place (ideally between five and 15°C). During both the initial fermentation process and storage, they must be kept in a dark environment. These pickles are ready to eat after two to four weeks.

Lactic-acid fermented cucumbers go well with bread and in salads. You can also make a sandwich spread or sauce from lactic-acid-fermented cucumbers and onions. Simply mince the cucumbers and onions and add parsley and chives. Mix with some mustard and curds or sour cream.

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