November 16, 2011

Pickle Reviews

I've become obsessed with pickles lately- or rather I've tapped into my deep obsession; it was always there.  In Brooklyn last month, I pickled up two quart jars of pickles to bring back and share with my friend A. (also a pickle devotee).

And last night, when I made a pickle snack plate, I realized I hadn't told you about my great new pickle find!

An aside: someone was recently complaining about pickle plates from his childhood.  Like, the ones put out at parties by people in the 60s and 70s.  The pile of yellow sweet pickles to be avoided, the pickled beets aggressively staining all the pickles red...  Sounds like the pickle plate needs a makeover.

So here's what I think of three types of pickled products: McClure's dill pickles, and Brooklyn Brine's "Damn Spicy" dill pickles, and refrigerator dilly beans.

I found the McClure's brand at Smorgasberg and tried tasty samples of their whole garlic and dill pickles and their Bloody Mary mix.  I also picked up two bags of Dill chips, one spicy and one regs.  So good (maybe not as good as Lay's Dill pickle chips, but close).  That's right, Dill. Chips.  Try 'em.

What I didn't realize when sampling is that McClure's pickles seem to be pickled in a brine that is straight vinegar.  That stuff is spicy!  It makes you cough.  But they're the best of the two cucumber pickles, with a nice garlic and dill flavor, and lots of crunch, since they're whole, small cukes.

But Brooklyn Brine Co.'s Damn Spicy pickles?  Are DAMN SPICY.  Like too friggin' spicy.  Just tastes like burning.  Since you're fishing your pickles out from in between a jalapeno and a habenero, it's no surprise.  But dayum!!  There's a pickle flavor in there somewhere, but my tongue was scorched.

While not a traditional cucumber pickle, the dilly beans are my favorite of the 3 pickled products I tried.  (And I made them!!)

I've never made refrigerator dilly beans, but when I had a small bunch of green beans from my CSA this summer, I decided to go for it, rather than fire up the canner.

I used 2 cups water, 2 cups white vinegar, and a quarter cup of salt, plus a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like it Damn Spicy!).  I also added the additional step of blanching the green beans.  Since they weren't being cooked in the canner, I figured I should blanch them to get the right texture.

After only a few days in the brine, with some garlic and dill, these beans were pickled!  Different than dilly beans that had been canned, but just as good, if not better.  They were so easy to make and ready to eat without feeling guilty for dipping into your stash of canned goods.

OK, other pickle recommendations?  And did anyone hear the legend that you couldn't eat a pickle and drink milk together or you'd throw up?  I was so paranoid about barfing when I was little, that I wouldn't eat pickles and dairy within hours of each other, just in case.