Salvaging Limp Pickles

Limpy Dills

One of the last things we did when setting up at the farmer's market was to "sprinkle" our business cards about the table.  Imagine 1" by 2 1/2" rectangles of brightly colored confetti. These cards had witty and sometimes slightly irreverent phrases across the front, with the standard contact information on the back.  One of our customer's favorites was "Canning makes your pickle limp", which was Christopher's attempt at engaging conversation with the canning folks, he enjoyed extolling the virtues of fermentation over vinegar pickles which are canned in a hot water bath. Mostly the phrase made little old ladies giggle and blush, as they took a card.

This morning I opened a ten gallon crock of lacto-fermented dill pickles that I was commissioned to create for the grand opening of a new artisan butcher shop.  They were incredibly tasty, as I expected they would be...but.  But it was the first time that I had used small slicing cucumbers mixed in with a pickling type.  I bought them via an on-line post for pickling cucumbers, and that is what I got when I picked them up.  They were freshly picked, firm and crunchy and sweet. 

When I took them out of the crock, many of these "non-pickling" variety cucumbers where flattened, squishy and limp.  Not in a rotten way, just in an unappetizing way.  I did not want to toss them, but they were not to be seen in public either.  As I sorted out the flat ones I was bothered by the size of the growing pile, I didn't want to waste this good food.  Some idea's began to form.

I started by processing them in a food processor.  They were still delicious when finely chopped and had lost all of their awkward appearance. I divided the batch and came up with a superior hot dog condiment and a sweet pickle relish.

Pickle Kraut

Turn both hot dog stand favorites into one great condiment. Why chose relish or kraut, when  you can have both. Simply add chopped pickles to plain sauerkraut, mix and store in a jar, packing the kraut under the brine. Place in the refrigerator

Lacto-fermented Sweet Dill Relish

4 lbs. lacto-fermented dill pickles, chopped in a food processor

1 cup finely chopped onions

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

2 - 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

Mix these ingredients in a large bowl. Taste.  Add more sugar or vinegar if you feel they are not strong enough.  When it is pleasing transfer this mixture into a 2-quart jar.  Make sure that the vegetables are under the brine and allow to sit on the counter for a day, with the lid loosely affixed.  This will give the flavors time to ripen and the onions a chance to ferment.  Store in the refrigerator for a few more days to enhance flavor.

Dill Pickle Relish