My “summer of the pickle” turned out to be a flop. After my first tasty batch, the others were disappointing, if not inedible. I forgot to add a grapeleaf to the horseradish pickles and they were a mushy mess. The dill tasted off. Some of the pickles were mottled. While fermentation is an inexact art, I’ve been doing some research to try to pinpoint where I went wrong. This is the best troubleshooting guide that I’ve found. So far I’ve learned:
- Certain cucumber varieties turn to mush during fermentation
- Summertime fermenting might be destined to fail in my too-warm kitchen
- In addition to adding a grapeleaf (or teabag) to keep the cucumbers crisp, I should trim off the blossom end, which removes the source for the enzyme that causes things to go soft
- Sunlight or incomplete fermentation could cause discoloration.