"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Steve's Evil Kitchen Gets in a Pickle

Still nothing to write about on the running front.

I thought I'd try something new and daring in making pickles. The first experiment didn't turn out well:

Sometimes explosions just happen in the Evil Kitchen.

Eventually, I came up with an idea that anyone could follow. Noticing that pickle manufacturers uses calcium lactate to ensure crunchiness, I came up with an idea for making pickles without vinegar and without salt. The procedure is very simple.

First, soak cucumbers (or anything else you want to pickle) in calcium hydroxide. I used 2 Tbsp. in a pint of water, which was more than saturating and I left it in the refrigerator overnight. You can pick up food grade calcium hydroxide as - imagine my surprise - "Pickling Lime." It was a couple of dollars at Menard's. You have to be careful, as it has a pH of 14; it will turn your skin into soap.
 The second step makes them edible. You pull the cukes out of the caustic solution and put them in acid. I used 88% lactic acid, which is available at any homebrew shop. It, too, will cause nasty burns. 15 oz. of water plus 1 oz. of lactic acid (always put acid in water, not water in acid; a lesson from chemistry class I learned the hard way) gives a solution that is 5.5%, about as strong as strong vinegar. When you put the cucumbers in the acid, there's a little bubbling as the base in the cucumbers reacts with the acid, creating calcium lactate. I stored them in the refrigerator for two days, just to make sure the acid had permeated the pickles and I wouldn't have a nasty surprise.

$4 at Northern brewer.

So how were they? There's an immediate hit of acid on the tongue, as these are very tart. Then there's a lingering aftertaste of fresh cucumber. I decided that the acid was a bit much, so I added sugar to the solution and made sweet pickles, which would probably have aided in preservation, but I ate them all pretty quickly.

1 comment:

Londell said...

Steve the mad scientist wannabe?