Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bread and butter pickles

I have been predicting for some time now that the fad for hipster pickles will cross the Atlantic, and it’s started. I was expecting to find some bearded guys turning up at the farmers’ markets with tub of brine, but it has come from an entirely different, more prosaic direction.

You can now get Brooklyn Brine pickles at Marks & Spencers. Brooklyn is supposedly a small New York operation, though I wonder how small they can be if they are able to supply a grocery chain with hundreds of stores on the other side of the Atlantic.

The Brooklyn pickles are nice pickles but quite pricey at £4.99 a jar – for comparison, M&S’ own brand sell for less than half that (though it is fair to say that Brooklyn Brine are not cheap in the US either). I decided to make some of my own. I’d been meaning to do this for some time anyway.

The hardest part was finding a greengrocers that sells the right kind of little knobbly cucumbers. Through a tip-off from a friend, I eventually found them at Polish Taste in Partick. Total cost £3.70 for cucumbers and dill, plus a few pennies’ worth of garlic, vinegar, salt and peppercorns.

For half the batch, I made a solution of about 30% malt vinegar and 70% water with some salt. The other half just gets a 4% salt brine and will get to ferment naturally. Two jars were kept as close to each other as possible so I can check out the difference when they are ready.