Every autumn we make Turkish pickles. Yesterday was the big day. Pickles are eaten here in the winter time with just about every evening meal. The flavor is very different from good ole dill pickles. It calls for a lot of garlic, peppers and lemon. The people from the Black Sea area add celery leaves, as well. Unlike the modern hot bath version, they are not sealed in jars but, instead, are left for a month or so in a cool, dark place to ferment in a very strong vinegar brine. Yes, they are very stout! This method is practically as old as man and was once practiced throughout the world. It is still the preferred in many places today, but due to fear of illness and convenience, has gone 'out of style' in the West. We, however, live in the East.
Brine: boiled water, rock salt, and grape vinegar brine
(almost half of the brine is vinegar)
cucumbers and cabbage, lemon, garlic, hot peppers
parsley or celery leaves, and a spoon of sugar
We made thirteen liters! That's about six gallons. If we are
careful, they will last all winter. We usually aren't careful.
Due to many requests, here's the recipe:
5 litre pot
1.25 litre vinegar (grape is best)
1 cup rock salt
parsley or celery leaves
lots of peeled garlic cloves (maybe 50)
small washed cucumbers (cut 1 cm of blossom end off)
large handful of chili peppers or just a few -depends on how hot you want it
optional: peeled, chopped vegs such as carrots, green tomatoes, cabbage)
Fill pot almost full with water and boil a few minutes.
Dissolve rock salt in it.
Meanwhile, fill clean LARGE jars (such as gallon jars or 1.5 litre)
with veggies. Add a few peppers and about 10 garlic cloves. (You can even use large plastic pails or a porcelain crock. Just don't use metal.)
Top with parsley or celery leaves.
Put a thick slice of lemon on top and a small spoon of sugar.
Fill with hot vinegar brine. Make sure veggies are completely covered with vinegar.
Screw lids on or place your unscrewable type lids on top and weight them with a rock. Do not use sealed lids.
Place in dark, cool place such as a basement.
Check in two weeks. If solution has gone down, add a bit of salt water to the top.
If a white film as gathered on the top, just skim it off.
The pickles should be ready within two more weeks. If you open them and they have a horrible smell and are slimy, you did something wrong and must throw them out. This rarely happens. Just make sure you follow the directions closely and use very fresh vegetables.