Fermented Pickles and Ingredients
I'm interested in trying a small batch of fermented pickles.
However, I don't have access to any sort of pickling cucumbers. I can get the thin Asian style cucumbers. Does anyone know how this affects the brine strength, as I think the pickling cucumbers tend to have less water. And I'll have to use the feathery dill or dried dill, rather than giant dill for flavouring.
The water in the cukes should make little or no difference. I often make fermented pickles and though I can't recall where I read it, the brine concentration can be anywhere from 50 to 80 grams of salt per liter of water, and the lower the ambient temperature, the less salt you need. Here in cool San Francisco (typically 65 to 70 F), 50-60 g salt per liter works best for me. More than that all I taste is salt.
And don't worry about the herbs. You can add pretty much whatever spice or herb you like to a pickle. In fact, first time out, I'd suggest leaving them out (except perhaps a clove or two of garlic) and make two or three small batches with different salt concentrations so you can get that part to your liking. Good luck! Once you get it right you will be very happy and your friends will be mightily impressed (if you decide to share).
I assume you've been reading this thread:
which is just down the page a little, as well as all the threads linked within it, which should answer some of your questions.
I don't know what effect the Asian cukes will have, but I suppose the answer is to just try it and see. The worst that will happen is that you'll be out a couple of bucks in wasted ingredients if everything turns to soft mushy slime because your brine is off. It's unlikely you'll kill anyone ;-).