I am a pickle snob. I admit it.
I have been known to judge a deli by the quality of the pickle that they serve and factor that in when deciding whether or not to return.
I have, off and on over the years, tried in vain to jar my own perfect pickle. Not being satisfied with my in-home efforts, I have resorted to ordering pickles by the gallon from The Pickle Guys in New York (perfect half-sours, with a bit of chili flakes added for heat ... crunchy and delicious!).
And most telling of all, my friends (especially Jill) can attest that I’ve been known to bogart the bowl of cornichons at book club meetings.
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With this admitted obsession in mind, how to you think that I reacted to the news that this year Bubbie’s Brisket and Bakery is adding homemade pickles to the menu!
I knew that I just had to talk to Teri Hodges, the chairwoman for Bubbie’s and one of the pickle makers for this Sunday’s event.
So, what makes the perfect pickle?
The crunch and the taste. There needs to be a balance of dill and garlic. And with homemade pickles, you can control the amount of salt you use in the recipe.
What’s your favorite kind of pickle?
How many jars have you made?
Right at 100 jars (priced at $5 per jar). We tried making more than one batch of pickles at a time but for some reason the recipe wasn’t working when it was doubled so we had to make one batch at a time.
Have you ever made pickles before this?
This is the first time. (When not working at her job as a nurse in the newborn special care unit at Palmetto Health Richland, Hodges is an avid baker. Her mandel bread won a ribbon at this year’s State Fair.)
Any hints or tips for the first-time pickle maker?
Shake the jars occasionally so that the brine can get into the pickle for the best flavor. (And I would add that you should try the original recipe first on a single jar; wait for the pickles to, um, pickle, then add your own flair whether it’s reducing the salt or adding more garlic or even hot peppers.)
What else is new this year at Bubbie’s?
First of all, a big thanks to the hardworking volunteers on Bubbie’s planning committee that have been meeting since June and began baking and food preparation in August.
On the menu will be a child’s plate consisting of a Kosher hot dog, drink and chocolate chip cookie; brisket plates; we’ve doubled the number of corned beef sandwiches to be made; kasha varnishkes are a new item (bowtie pasta with buckwheat groats and mushrooms). And there will be an assortment of breads and cakes.
Also, the rabbi will be giving tours of the synagogue.
A side note: Food prepared in the kosher kitchen (meaning the space is divided, with separate areas/pots and pans/tools, etc for meat and dairy) at Beth Shalom Synagogue will be sold inside of the synagogue. Food prepared outside of the synagogue, according to Jewish law, cannot be brought into the building and must be sold and kept outside of the building. The pickles and some baked goods will be out of doors and a station will be set up so that purchased goods can be held for pick-up while you enjoy all that Bubbie’s has to offer.
Bubbie’s Kosher Dill Pickles
9 ounces of water
5 ounces white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs of fresh dill
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 pound small pickling cucumbers, unwaxed (use whole, quartered or sliced as you prefer)
Boil water, vinegar and sugar until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Place peeled garlic, onion, dill and salt in a clean glass jar. Arrange cucumbers on top. Pour water/vinegar solution over the cucumbers. Seal and shake the jar to distribute ingredients. Let stand on the countertop overnight before refrigerating for 10 days.