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crisp pickles

 
Posts: 31
Location: South Louisiana, 9A
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Last summer I fermented a bunch of dill pickles. I normally use grape leaves to keep them crisp, but I was worried I might wear out my welcome with my grape leaf supplier. I'd read that oak leaves are a good substitute, so I made a few jars using green leaves from water oaks. They didn't work. The pickles made with oak leaves are soft sacks of snotty cucumber residue. I'll probably just plant my own grapes for this in the future, but I'm curious about whether there's any truth to oak being useful in this regard. It's pretty clear that my neighborhood water oaks are no good. But maybe other species of oak are good. Anyone have specific alternatives to grape leaves that will keep my pickles crunchy?
 
Posts: 32
Location: CA . 3000 ft elevation, mostly southwestern slope , zone 9a
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We use horseradish leaves in our pickles to help keep them crisp.
 
pollinator
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Location: the mountains of western nc
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i’ve used oak leaves before to help keep pickles crispy, and it seemed to work...i’ve used cherry leaves before for the same purpose.  doesn’t last forever though.
 
pollinator
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I've found that using a truly airtight jar makes a big difference in crunchiness. Do you have a gasket to seal in the air on the jar?
 
master pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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I'm with Greg: cherry leaves are SOP around here.
 
pollinator
Posts: 195
Location: Zone 9A, 45S 168E, 329m Queenstown, NZ
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If you soak the vegetables in brine before pickling, it draws out the water and helps them to retain their crunch.
 
Jake Esselstyn
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Location: South Louisiana, 9A
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Thanks everyone for the tips. Yes, the jars I use are well sealed. Simultaneous preparation of batches with grape leaves and oak leaves gave me two very different outcomes. But since some of you use oak successfully, maybe water oaks just lack the tannins of other oaks. I'll try a batch with live oak next summer.

I don't think I've ever seen a cherry tree in the area, so that would be difficult.

Jeff, I'll have to try some horseradish leaves too.

Megan, could you tell me more about your brine? Specifically salt concentration and time? I'd like to try this too.

Thanks again!
Jake
 
Megan Palmer
pollinator
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Location: Zone 9A, 45S 168E, 329m Queenstown, NZ
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Jake I soak the vegetables overnight in a brine of 100g salt to 1 litre water
 
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That phrase--bags of cucumber snot--describe a batch of pickles I forgot about.  I am loath to throw them out, but also can't use them how I like them.  

Ideas for how to use this food?  Or worm bin?  Or compost pile?

Thank you all for any ideas!

Marcia
 
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I put a bay leaf in my fermented dill pickles. Granted, I've only made 5 jars so far but all have retained their crunch.
 
Posts: 146
Location: South Georgia, 8b
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i grow grapes and they grow wild around here...
my grand-ma used blackberry leaves and she put up some crunchy pickles.
 
Posts: 130
Location: Appalachian Mountains
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When my pickles get too soft (often due to age), I just throw in the blender and use as pickle relish in recipes like potato salad.  Better with sweet pickles, but some people like dill relish too.  
 
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