Got questions? Feed The Spirit hopes to help! Here’s an example …
Constant reader and Read the Spirit columnist Debra Darvick had a few questions about making pickles, after reading guest writer Eliezer Finkelman’s recent Feed The Spirit column: Pickles with character! Tips for pickling more than cucumbers. Debra asked about using an enameled metal pot for fermenting and also whether the crock should be covered.
We asked Eli to respond:
I do not know the answer about enameled metal. I would worry about whether the iron might react with the brine, if there exist any cracks in the enamel. I would prefer a non-reactive vessel, such as glass or plastic.
You do not want a tight-fitting lid. As the pickles ferment, the brine gives off a gas. As my son discovered in his first attempt at copying his father-in-law’s pickle recipe, if you let it ferment in a sealed vessel, the vessel will explode, and your kitchen will smell of pickles for a substantial time thereafter.
Or you could have a tight-fitting lid, as long as you do not seal it tightly. Covering the vessel as the pickles ferment serves to keep “stuff” out. People usually use cloth. You also might want to cover the cukes and tomatoes with a weighted plate to keep the cukes below the brine level.
(Feed The Spirit host Bobbie Lewis adds: My daughter took one look at my plastic tub of fermenting veggies and said, “You should cover that”—so we put the tub lid on top of the tub slightly askew, and didn’t fasten it.)
If you started with large cucumbers, the texture might feel a little different: not as firm.
Good luck, and hearty appetite!