Sunday, November 18, 2012


Doing some homework :)

Tonight I'm working on the lecture outline for a seminar I'm teaching the first week in December. I don't know if you can tell from this pile of research material (ha) but it's about pickles. There will, of course, be plenty of snacks and demos involved, but If you were going to a seminar about pickles, what questions would you want answered?


  1. How do you make them crunchy?! My mum has a grape vine and after reading about how a grape leaf in the jar will ensure crunchiness, she used them. After 30 years of soggy pickles it did the trick, but who has a grape vine?

  2. Well first of all I'd probably just want to go to your quirky pickles seminar but I assume it's for work so that's probably not possible. I like to hear about weird food history though and the origins of things. Like...what's the deal with the gherkin? Ha ha ;)

  3. i teach about pickling in maine! what do you teach about pickling in boston? and i found that people are really interested in the different kinds of pickles, like fermented vs. quick pickled, half-sours, etc. have fun!

  4. Return, if you can make cucumber pickles as you want to eat them instead of processing them in a boiling water bath, they'll stay crunchier - just keep them in the fridge. The other solution is to pasteurize (hold the boiling water canner at 180 for 30 minutes instead of a rolling boil for 10). I've used tea bags in my fermented cukes before, as it's the tannins in grape leaves that keep the cukes crunchy and tea has tannins, too.

    Erin, yes! I've got all sorts of amusing etymological anecdotes and fun stories about pickles. Cleopatra ate pickles as part of a beauty regimen. And it is for work, yes, sorry!

    Kate, I work (in the office) at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge and I'm teaching a new seminar for students in the second half of the program - I've only got 3 hours to cover pickles including fermented/quick/vinegar cukes, 'kraut and kimchi, plus a brief intro to water bath canning and jams. I'm hoping to cover brined meats, too, so I'll be sampling out gravlax and corned beef as well.

    Also, I wish there were master preserver classes near me! I grew up in Maine (my parents are still there and I'll be there for T-day) but I'm not a resident so I can't take the classes at UMaine. The extension service here is way out in the western part of the state and I can't seem to find any classes nearer to me.

    1. i manage the master food preserver volunteers! my boss teaches the class. and i feel your pain - we get a lot of requests from NH and MA. that sure is a lot to cram into one 3 hours class! have safe travels to maine for the holiday.