Homemade Pickles

“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
-Thomas Jefferson

 Living in the great state on North Carolina, we are home to one of the largest pickle producers in the world, which is located in Mt. Olive, about 110 miles south of us here in Raleigh.here is an interesting story that was done locally on this company.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH06QrPeH7k

Not everyone loves a sweet pickle. In America, dill pickles are twice as popular as the sweet variety.  In most kitchen’s I’ve worked in through the years, we’d simply purchase our pickles in five gallon buckets, and never had a complaint. But last week, our director Jim had one of his infamous “epiphanies”….we make our own.

They just came out of the brine after nearly a week in the refrigerator. The recipe was rather simple, and they taste great. First, we started  out by buying some local pickling cukes from the North Carolina state Farmers market located in Raleigh. We found a lare plastic container, and mixed them with a special brine of  water, plenty of salt,vinegar, mustard seeds, onions, garlic, fresh dill, fennel seed, chiles de arbol (which are a very hot red chili pepper),and a hint of sugar.

Here is what this bucket of joy looked like

 You’ll notice the bright and vibrant color of the cuke’s, but that will slowly change after a week in the brine. So, the next step was ensuring that they were completely submerged in the liquid (no floaters), you really have to weigh them down so this happens. Our ancestors  once used  heavy rocks to make this happen.

After about a week under refrigeration, we were presented with a perfectly crisp, slightly hot, garlicky pickle. They are absolutely delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. Today we are serving them with some authentic Italian Combo sandwiches,  Capicola, Italian Ham, Pepperoni, Mortadella, and Provolone Cheese. Is it lunch time yet?

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About Chef Ryan CEC

I'm the Executive Chef for Rex Healthcare's Culinary & Nutritional Services team in Raleigh, NC. We are doing some amazing things. We are changing the perception of "Hospital Food"- one meal at a time.
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