Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sour Pickles

It used to be that you could go into a Deli and they would have Pickle Barrels full of whatever kind of Pickles you want.  Looks like good pickles have given way to convenience.  There are some issues there, like quick pickles use Acetic Acid (Vinegar) to produce the sourness in the Pickle.  While this is an accepted culinary practice I have noticed that Acetic Acid disrupts my digestive process, and I stay away from most commercial brands of Pickles.  However, I have found that I Love naturally fermented Pickles, and they seem to augment my digestive processes.
A naturally fermented Sour Pickle gets its sourness from Lactic Acid which is produced by Lactobacillus Bacilli, the same that you get from Yogurt.  The fermenting process takes a long time compared to the quick pickles that use the Acetic Acid, and cooking process.  I can see why commercial pickles use the Acetic Acid cooking process because its takes no time compared to the Lactic Acid fermenting process.
The Lactic Acid fermenting process relies on Salt for microbial infection control rather that heat with the Acetic Acid cooking process.  There are other foods that you can add to the Sour Pickles while they are fermenting that can assist in microbial infection control, and also add flavor to the Sour Pickles.  Above I am removing the paper from Garlic cloves, and giving them a bit of a mash at the same time by hitting them with the heel of my hand.  The paper comes right off and the Garlic is a little broken, which allows its juices to flow into the Sour Pickles.
Some of the fermented foods I have made lately have been way too Garlicky, and Hot.  So, for these Sour Pickles I am only adding a little Garlic, mainly in its whole form, and two whole Cayenne Chiles.  Typically Dill gets added to Sour Pickles, but I didn't grow Dill this year, but I have an abundance of Rosemary.  So, I'll add a couple sprigs of Rosemary to the Sour Pickles as well.
When we are using the Lactic Acid Fermenting process we don't need to be as paranoid about germs, and sterilization as in the Acetic Acid Cooking process.  With the Lactic Acid Fermenting process we are using Salt to control microbial infection.  The Lactobacillus Bacilli can work in a high Salt environment, while most of the harmful microbes are killed in the high Salt content environment.  This allows the natural plant enzymes to survive the pickling process, travel into your body to augment your immune system, and digestive process.  The Acetic Acid cooking process literally kills all of the microbial life in the Pickles, which does make the Pickle sterile (safe to eat), but also destroys all the health benefits of the food, and all that is left is flavored fiber with no nutritional content.  No wonder they upset my stomach...
Earlier I made six cups of brine and allowed it to cool down to room temperature before using it to fill the Sour Pickle bottle.  These Garlic Rosemary Sour Pickles are half sour.  The sour factor in Sour Pickles refers to the salinity of the brine.  Full Sour Pickles have a brine that is about ten percent salinity, or ten percent Salt to ninety percent Water.  These are roughly half sour, and I made a five percent salinity solution, or five percent Salt to ninety five percent Water.
While I was at it I made a jar of Sauerkraut as well.  Its pretty much the same Lactic Acid fermentation process, it just comes together in a different way.  As with the Pickles, I have found that Sauerkraut that has been pasteurized, cooked, like in a can, will make me sick.  While Sauerkraut that has been made in a Lactic Acid fermentation process make my tummy happy.  Again the Lactic Acid fermentation process takes forever compared to the Acetic Acid cooking process, but the health benefits are awesome, and the way it makes me feel is well worth the wait.  Naturally fermented foods are the gateway to superlative health...

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