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Hungarian Sun Pickles

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 July 2012 at 11:35
From member RichTee:
 
Quote This is NOT a firm, crisp pickle, but it has a flavor all to its own. You may see some recipes out there calling for vinegar, but that's not the REAL Hungarian deal.

These are made "en-masse" - here's the recipe for a gallon jar:

1 gallon water
1 cup Kosher salt
2 heads of dill
3-4 garlic cloves
1 to 3 slices of rye bread
Cheesecloth
Optional - a couple of hot red peppers.
Enough cucumbers to fill a gallon-sized jar
 
Use large, pickle-sized cucumbers - NOT full-sized cucumbers, as those will be too mushy. Trim off both ends of each cucumber, and slice 7/8ths of the way down, leaving one end intact.

Bring water to boil and remove from heat. Add salt.

Pack tight a gallon jar with the cucumbers, dill, garlic and peppers.

Pour warm brine over all in jar up to the shoulder and "tuck" the bread under the shoulder of the jar, at the liquid line. Notice the function of the bread - besides adding complex sugars for the ferment, it also swells up and 'seals" the shoulder of the container, keeping out excess air and allowing CO2 to escape.Layer the bread so that it covers any opening.

Use a rubber band to secure cheesecloth over the jar mouth to keep out insects.
 

Set outside in summertime for 3-4 days and let ferment. The fermentation produces the sour and the garlic aroma is very nice!
 
There will of course be yeast in the bottom - In this picture, you can see the clouding from the yeast:
 
 
You can (gently) pour off liquid into quart jars and decant the pickles into them following before refrigeration following this method:
 
When the pickles are ready to be refrigerated, spoon the bread out and discard it, then gently decant the pickles, leaving as much yeast as possible in the gallon jar. Pull out the pickles, give them a cool water rinse if you want to, and then transfer them into clean jars with the juice. Some water can be added to make up volume. I use quart jars. Of course, there is no harm in just removing the bread and leaving the pickles in the gallon jar, either - but some folks are squeamish about the yeast layer.

These pickles must be kept refrigerated, and will probably last a good month or so - any longer, and they can really get mushy.
 
Enjoy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Richtee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 July 2012 at 12:33
I guess I should add... I did not use the cheeseloth in this batch...

I used foil with pinholes on the one jar, and pricked a bunch of holes in the lid of the other. Same thing...keeps critters out and allows the CO2 to escape

Thanks Taz...and enjoy the pickles!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2012 at 09:05
Thanks for the extra information, Rich -
 
I was going to ask: I see your smaller jar has sliced pickles - how do slices turn out versus whole cucumbers? Would you rate one above the other, or are they about equal?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Richtee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2012 at 10:18
They are OK. Gotta use them faster I find... they don't hold up as well/long as the whole cukes. Very tasty tho!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2012 at 15:56

Here is a plethora of information and pictures from Culinaria Hungary:
 

 

Quote It is impossible to imagine a Hungarian summer without these large, pot-bellied jars, which are placed in the sun to let the pickled gherkins mature. Whether stored under the eaves of the farmhouses, in a corner of a terrace, or on the kitchen window ledge of a city apartment, these gherkins, which are preserved by a process of lactic acid fermentation (kovászos uborka), are simply everywhere.

 
Culinaria goes on to describe a process very similar to the one that Rich outlined above, with only a couple of minor differences:
 
Quote Some 4.5 pounds (2 kilograms) of cucumbers are needed for a 6-pint (3.5 litre) jar. The right gherkins (or cucumbers) are 4 to 5 inches (10-12 centimetres) in length, two-fingers thick, and crispy-fresh. They are sold on markets and in numerous delis with one other vital ingredient: half-dried dill (several stalks are required, with flowers, if possible). And that's the end of the shopping list, since the remaining ingredients are usually to hand in every household: a thick slice of bread (dark is better), two cloves of garlic, and salt.
 

Hungarian consumers prize these organically-grown "warty" cucumbers.
 
First, place the cucumbers in a large bowl with lukewarm water to remove any sand from the skins. Clean thoroughly under running water, using a brush if necessary. Discard the two ends and slash the skins. It is worth testing every cucumber, since a single bitter one can ruin the whole jar.
 
Add a heaped tablespoon of salt to a good two pints (1 litre) of water, and bring to a boil. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place half the dill and a peeled, sliced clove of garlic in the bottom of the jar, then layer the cucumbers on top. When the jar is half full, add a second layer of herbs and garlic; the bread is placed on top. Then pour the salt water over the cucumbers over the cucumbers to moisten them, and cover the bread. Put a lid, a small plate, or a piece of cheesecloth over the jar, and place in the sun. The cucumbers will have ceased fermenting after 3 or 4 days. The water turns cloudy during fermentation, becoming opaque and milky.
 

Pickled gherkins are preserved without an acidifier such as vinegar or lemon.
 
People who prefer their gherkins with a little more spice often add half an onion, a piece of peeled horseradish, some sour cherry leaves, and marjoram and/or basil, as well as the dill and garlic.
 
It is worthwhile testing the gherkins before ending the fermentation process. Pickled gherkins should always be pleasantly sour and not too soft, giving a little resistance when bitten into.
 
Now discard the bread, remove the gherkins, and rinse them. Pack them into smaller, well-sealing jars and cover with the fermentation water, passing it through a very fine sieve. Stored in the refrigerator in air-tight jars, they will keep for up to three weeks.
 
Pickled gherkins are served ice-cold, and without the liquid. In Hungary, on hot summer days, they are often served on crushed ice. Chilled gherkin liquid, diluted with soda water if preferred, is welcome at this time of year as a healthy and refreshing drink.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DIYASUB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2012 at 18:33
 I've been making these pickles all my life, and as a matter of fact I'm munching on some as I type this.
 As with so many ethnic recipes, these pickles are inexpensive to make and very tasty.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2013 at 13:44
I'd say it's that time of year again - bringing this up to the top for anyone wanting to try it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 June 2015 at 10:48
Is it getting to be that time of year again?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richtee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 June 2015 at 11:01
Heh..not here QUITE yet..but in a month er so... Yumm! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 June 2015 at 18:45
My German grandfather made a similar open crock pickle, lovingly referred to as 'stink pickles' due to the somewhat odoriferous emanations from the fermenting cukes. Grandpa's added grape and cherry leaves which we always thought were there for flavor, but I have lately been informed that both function like alum to help the pickles remain crisp. His were fermented in the cool basement rather than out in the sun. I just keep them in a dark corner of our 72F air conditioned kitchen. Does this Hungarian version get a little carbonated? When Grandpa's are at their best, they have a little fizz to 'em. When I dig the recipe out in a few weeks I'll post it in the German section if anyone is interested.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 June 2015 at 20:47
Keep in mind, cherry leaves can contain cyanide, so do not use a bunch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 June 2015 at 18:41
Cyanide, huh? I had no idea. How much? Is it an amount to be concerned about, or one of those micro-milli-nano-next to nothing kind of things?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 June 2015 at 22:57
I know about cyanide due to raising cattle in the past.
Cyanide can form in several plants, grain sorghum and corn stalks can develop enough to kill cattle , in some instances.
The seeds of the stone fruits can contain harmful amounts, this includes peaches, plums and regular apricots, of course, almonds are an exception.
Cattle have died from eating black cherry leaves and bark.
It would be a good idea to investigate the cyanide content of potentially harmful plants.
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