The first batch of cucumber pickles I ever made were water bath canned dill pickles. They lacked any crispness whatsoever when I opened them, and I couldn’t bring myself to eat them. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t eat a cucumber pickle like that.
Since that first try I’ve just been too nervous about wasting another batch of cucumbers. We don’t really grow them, so I have to hunt down a decent quantity of similarly sized cucumbers if I want to make a batch of pickles.
Enter the Kerosene Pickle- one of the few sweet pickles I’ve ever liked.
I tried them at a party, and the lady who canned them generously sat down and wrote out the family recipe. I believe they’re named Kerosene Pickles after the Andy Griffith episode, but never you mind. I wasn’t going to have any trouble getting people to eat these babies. Plus, this recipe involves a fermenting crock and the use of alum, two tricks I read about for making crispy pickles, as well as an excuse to buy a fermenting crock. Win!
I followed the instructions religiously, boiling water to pour over the cucumbers and spice/sugar mix and covering it with a dish and a dishtowel. Just before my 13-day ferment came to an end, I uncovered the dish towel to find the scary white stuff pictured below. According to the Fermenter’s Club website, this is called Kahm yeast and is harmless. Further research has led me to believe that our unseasonably warm house encouraged this growth, so I may have to find a colder place to ferment in the summer in future.
The Kahm yeast didn’t really affect anything, and the pickles turned out fine. Except that I hated them. Unlike the originals, mine turned out way too sweet and the spice mixture was unappetizing. J worked his way through about half of them and then I finally threw them away because I couldn’t get Aunt Bea out of my head looking so pleased while she watches Andy and Barney choke them down. But they were crispy. So there’s that.