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Before and after pickling. This kind of cucumber is small and bitter. After pickling they become slightly salty with a delicious dill garlic flavor. And they keep for months.

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This what you need for pickling:
Cucumbers
Garlic cloves
Dill crowns
Mustard seed
Salt
Water
Pickling jars

How to do it:
– clean cukes, garlic and dill
– prick small holes in cukes with a knife
or fork
– put garlic, dill and mustard seed in jar
– stuff cucumbers in jar as tight as
possible
– mix salt into water figuring 30 grams
salt per liter water
– put salt water into jar covering
everything
– put on lid sealing it to keep air out
– label jar with date and type
– put in room temperature for two weeks
– then put in cool place for storage (like cellar)
– ready to eat after about 5 weeks

The temperatures are rather important. Here in Sweden the ambient temperatures are low. The first period in room temperature is around 20 C, but anything between 15 and 25 C will do it seems. I keep them in the kitchen in a corner on the floor covered with a towel to keep light out. Light kills bacteria. Then they go down to the basement food storage room where it’s dark and the temperatures vary between 10 to 15 C from winter to summer.

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Lactic acid pickling is an ancient method of food preservation and flavor enhancement. The salt concentration becomes about 1.5% which keeps microorganisms from growing but allows the lactic acid producing bacteria to thrive. The lactic acid acts as a preservative as well as adding a slightly sour punch to the flavor.

Where do these bacteria come from? They are all around us in the environment. In the air, in our food, on our skin etc. We wash the cucumbers to get the dirt off but even then there are enough bacteria left to propagate without competition because of the salty water. The other ingrediants also add to the bacteria count. The salt and the lactic acid preserve the cucumbers. I have had good tasting pickles over two years old.

Perhaps the best thing about lactic acid pickling is the flavor changes that come about. Now for a pickle sandwich.

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