Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

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Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby dciolek on Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:12 am

Bushel of pickling cucumbers scrubbed clean and blossom ends removed mixed with 5 bunches of fresh dill, a cup of dill seed, half cup of mustard seed, 60 bay leaves and 120 cloves of garlic in a 10 gallon fermenter. 5 gallons of 5% kosher salt brine was added and a plate goes on top to keep everything submerged and away from the air. For extra safe keeping, an airlock was fitted to the lid and God willing a few weeks later we will have "full sour" kosher garlic dill pickles, just like they were straight from the barrel in the corner deli. Nothing short of a miracle, this transformation.
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:32 am

Yum! I love pickled cukes. Last year I did something wrong and lost a 60-liter batch. It isn't cuke season yet here in Minnesota, but I'm looking forward to it middle/late next month. Good luck!
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby irie1029 on Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:49 am

YUM! thanks for posting!
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby dciolek on Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:00 am

Ouch, to lose 60-liters would be heart breaking -- lots of time invested, let alone the lack of pickles to eat. :o What was your fermentation vessel? I almost tried one of the food grade plastic 55 gallon barrels that used to store vinegar. They can be had for about $15 around here -- but I realized those are way too big for the bushel size batch I wanted to make. Then I almost tried a 15 gallon stainless steel beer keg that I keep for brewing, but I didn't read good things about high salt fermentation with potentially lower grade stainless steel. Something about most kegs are SS 312 and you need SS 316 for corrosion resistance to the high salt. Not worth the risk. So I settled on the 10 gallon "Home Depot" water cooler. Perfect fit for a bushel of cucumbers and 5 gallons of brine.

Things are progressing quite well at the 8 day mark. The batch fermentation has proceeded at pretty cool temps between 62 and 65 degrees. I think chilling the cucumbers in ice water for a couple hours before cleaning and brining and the fact that they are in a large insulated container is keeping things cool. I wasn't sure if fermentation would add some heat -- but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The temp is slowly making its way to basement temps that average around 67.

The pH, which started with reverse osmosis filtered brine water at just over 6.0 before adding salt is now at 2.95. That seems quite dramatic a drop -- more than I expected, but I don't have a lot of experience with pickles yet. Seems like they will make it to "full sour" status sitting at that pH for another week or two.

Taste test right from the tank, no refrigerated, shows they have lost some of the crunch they had as cucumbers, but still have good snap and are maintaining their firmness. They are no longer just a salty cucumber, but maybe only approaching the "half-sour" stage, nowhere near the tang I would like to finish at. The bright green color has mellowed on the outside skin -- and most of the interior is still that slightly greenish shade of white with just a bit of translucent color creeping in on the margins.

No signs of mold or scum on the surface in the air-locked vessel -- and I think it is in the safe zone at that low pH, so all looks promising.
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby Christopher Weeks on Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:11 am

My lost pickles were in a 100 liter variable capacity fermentation tank

The picture at that link is of the 50 liter tank, mine is twice the height (and pretty difficult to get in and clean -- I wouldn't really suggest this form-factor).

Here they are while still in the rinsing stage: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mDqaoQeMYjQ12r119
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby gardener on Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:10 am

Glad you mentioned that about ss 316. It confirms for me that a submersion tool I am about to trial (ultimatepicklejar.com) is the appropriate stainless steel. The tool fits mason jars, so not applicable to your big batch of cukes.

Would you be able to show online which 10 gallon cooler you are using? Is it an insulated, portable, "HD orange" cooler? Plastic?

I'm expecting cucumbers soon but have no idea how many I will get-- did not even attempt any calculations. But it is just a short trellised row (maybe 24 feet) in a small home garden. For fear of losing it all (what a loss, Christopher!) doing big batches, I plan to just do multiple gallon jars. Now the problem is where to find space to set so many jars.

I should probably start this evening to clean my garlic for kosher dills. It always seems to be muddy when I have to get the garlic out of the ground.
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby dciolek on Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:32 am

Yes, it is the Home Depot orange 10 gallon cooler. I drilled the lid to fit a fermentation lock and a smaller hole for probes to check pH or temperature periodically without opening the lid. I used two shot glass under the lid to force down the plate an inch or so beneath the brine when the lid is screwed on. Works great.

This version is also modified with a stainless ball valve at exit (for brewing), but you don't really need to modify the stock cooler for pickles at all. Just don't screw it on too tight and don't worry about pH and temp -- what could go wrong? ;)

The valve could be used for filling individual jars with brine if you want to try a portion as half sours along the way. Take out what you need, pack and fill from valve with brine.
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Re: Fermented Kosher Garlic Dills by the Bushel

Postby dciolek on Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:47 am

Christopher Weeks wrote:My lost pickles were in a 100 liter variable capacity fermentation tank

The picture at that link is of the 50 liter tank, mine is twice the height (and pretty difficult to get in and clean -- I wouldn't really suggest this form-factor).

Here they are while still in the rinsing stage: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mDqaoQeMYjQ12r119



Wow, that is an impressive fermenting vessel! And the specs say 304ss, which is also designed for corrosion resistance. I suppose there is something to be said for spreading out the risk to multiple gallon jars instead of one big tank, and those fit in the fridge better when ready ;) but it requires more hand holding along the way.
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