Larger Cukes

These can be used mostly for pickle slices or spears. I have successfully used a variety, but removing bitterness is key. So remove half the skin in stripes, soak in a 5% brine with vinegar, discard the brine and proceed.

Now, let’s talk Bread and Butter. These should have a pleasing dark buttery color, a sweet umami flavor, and a touch of spice. Cut into slices like you would for a hamburger.

Acid: 40% white vinegar, 10% rice wine, 10% malt vinegar, 40% water

Sweet: Caster sugar
Sweet/floral: honey

Umami: tumeric
Bitter: celery seed
Spicy: mustard or horse radish

Pickled cabbage is likely the next obvious subject. And wow, is there a plethora of pickled cabbage. It is honestly hard to know where to even start. But I will pick three.

I don’t know how much I could improve on good kraut. The store bought stuff isn’t great since it is brined simply with vinegar, but even plain home fermented kraut is delectable. However there are a few tweaks that may be useful.

While many think of kimchi as simply spicy cabbage, its magic comes from the deep umami flavors it develops while fermenting with fish and garlic.

Russian cabbage
Red, red, and more red (or purple, really). The spices must also sing, but not dominate.



The key to a killer kraut are small, sweet cabbages and a balance between lactic and acetic acid. I also prefer non iodized salt, I think it is a little easier to work with.

While there are literally thousands of variations of sauerkraut this experiment is going to focus mostly on the tertiary flavors. Spices such as caraway and juniper may be added, or not.


Acid: acetic and lactic from fermentation
Acid: 1/2 cup of live kombucha


Vegetal: use the sweetest cabbages you can find
Umami: chanterelle infused salt


Sugar (scant)
Tannin: kombucha, earl Grey teabag, medium toast oak chips (or chips from say a chardonnay barrel)

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As a first, spicey cabbage all the flavors should be exaggerated. There should be subtlety, but if you add say half a teaspoon of coriander you will never taste it.

Like with kraut store bought kimchi is often soured with vinegar, which give the acid a very one dimensional flavor. Add that to the fact that many store bought varieties are vegetarian and you lose several of the most important characteristics of the pickle.


Acid: acetic and lactic from fermentation
Heat: dried Thai chili flakes


Aromatic: raw garlic
Umami: fish sauce
Umami: oyster sauce
Sweet: sriacha


Vegetal: cabbage
Sweet: carrot
Spicy: radish

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Russian Cabbage

Okay, I am going to Kravitz some ideas from the joy of pickling by linda ziedrich. But to be fair she admits to have Kravitzed them herself :smile:

This cabbage isn’t too sour, but a few additions make up for that. The use of cranberries adds tartness, tannins, and astringency. And the use of fruit adds sweetness. Make this with young cabbages, white not purple. Don’t worry, they will come out the right color.


Acid: acetic and lactic acid from a short fermentation
Acid: cranberries


Sweet: cubed apple (crabapple might me interesting)


Savory: caraway seeds

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Actually, virtually none are. At least, not around here.

(reason #53 to move to Oregon)

The ones that irritate me the most are the non vegetarian varieties where you can’t taste the body and umami from the fish sauce :smile:

Well yeah, that’s just stupid. If you’re going to use fish sauce, use enough that it’s actually detectable.

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Actually, now that I’m thinking about it…soy sauce and such have umami, but that’s not really enough. When I make lentil soup, I add red wine vinegar and dijon mustard to create the mouth feel/umami. What would happen if kimchi was made with a tablespoon of each added in?

That sounds like a solid idea. Not so much mustard that it really tastes like mustard, but enough for mouth feel.

Hrm, sweet pickles with rose petals and sage…?

It feels like the enthusiasm for pickles is… Low. What should I do next?

…chocolate? (I have been thinking about this for awhile)

(I promise to do pickled eggs with photos soon–they are an easy, tasty, healthy item)

That’s one of the most broad-leaved sages I’ve ever seen.

I think you need to discuss more than the flavors and the ingredients that can elicit them.

Maybe try full recipes, and a discussion of how you changed ingredient X to ingredient Y and what the result was.

Certainly. The flavor profiles are only a subset of the entire equation. Ingredients and process are probably even more important.

What sparked my curiosity though was why use mustard? Why use peppercorns? Why use bay leaves? What do they do? Why are they in certain proportions?

Of course for process I’ll have to crib a bit more from Joy of Pickling, and some of my Ball books. I honestly don’t know how they could be improved (other than recipe tweaking).

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Sweet and herby freezer pickles. They are 1:1 vinegar and sugar, with dill for the cukes, Thai peppers for the beets, and oregano/sage/dried onion/peppercorns for both.

I didn’t have a bell pepper so it was omitted. Also, for the amount of cukes listed in the recipe you will need 2-2 1/2 cups, not 1 1/2.


Can I play pickles now? My sis sent me a nifty contraption…

It came with instructions, an airlock, and spices!


Awesome!! Looks like a decent size too. It is an addicting hobby, but during the glut of produce during the summer it is a cheeeap hobby. Plus if you can your pickles in vintage style Ball jars, everyone will be impressed.


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