MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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10.10.12

HUNGARIAN WATER PICKLES - VIZES UBORKA


Crunch and Yum! Holy Cow these are good pickles, just like my grandma used to make them. The only problem is… I haven’t figured out how to preserve them for winter. Grandma put down 72 bottles every summer that went cloudy and then cleared up and stayed clear until we finished the last bottle sometimes in late January. I only made 2 bottles, because I have limited room in my fridge and could not figure it out how to preserve these pickles. Consequently, my pickle juice remained stubbornly cloudy, which was the sign of continued bacterial activity. Finally I put a stop to the fermentation after 5 weeks; by then the pickles tasted great. I boiled the brine to kill the bacteria, let it cool down and then poured it back into the bottles. I am not sure what grandma used, she added something to her bottles before she covered them, but I cannot remember what that was. I read in various recipes to use szalicil, timsó, borkénpor, borkősav, borkén and even aspirin. I am sure there are equivalents to these products here in Canada, but since I am not a chemist and Google translation is quite useless when it comes to the finer points of Hungarian to English translation, I have no way of determining what would be a safe substitution for any these products. Besides the Internet is a confusing place when it comes to recipes, people call dishes by the wrong name all of the time. I often get responses from readers writing how their mom or auntie used to prepare a particular dish differently, which often has no relation to the dish I just posted.
 
This I know. Vizes uborka is made with water, salt, tiny pickling cucumbers, slices of fresh horseradish and maybe a few spices. There is no vinegar, no sugar in it whatsoever, which is why they are called “vizes” or water pickles. With only half a bottle left I thought I better take a photo of these pickles. I made several different pickles this last summer, the kosher pickles and these water pickles by far were my favourites. Of course I have to store them in the fridge which poses restrictions.
 
Naturally fermented pickles are healthy probiotic foods. Vinegar brined pickles, because they don’t ferment, have no real food value other than they taste good. Now if I could just figure out how to preserve these wonderful fermented pickles for at least six months – would that not be great? That would be a discovery I did not have since I figured out how to make turó.
 
For each bottle use: 1 jar worth of tiny pickling cucumbers
5 cups water
2 tsp pickling salt
2 garlic cloves
2 heads of fresh dill
2 slices of fresh horseradish
 
• Select healthy blemish free, freshly picked pickling cucumbers.
• Cut off the blossom ends and wash them well.
• Place the prepared cucumbers in a large mixing bowl.
• Cook the salt brine next.
• Estimate how many jars can be filled with cucumbers.
• For each bottle pour 5 cups of water into a dutch pot.
• Place the pot on the stove to boil.
• Add pickling salt to the water bit by bit and stir to dissolve it. Taste it, if it is too salty add some more water. If it needs more salt, add more to the pot. Aim for a pleasantly salty brine. I used about 2 tsp of pickling salt for every 5 cups of water.
• Bring the brine to a boil.
• Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers and let it cool down.
• Put the brine back in the dutch pot and bring it to the boil again.
• Remove from heat and let it cool down completely.
• Meanwhile wash the dill and set it aside.
• Peel the horseradish and the garlic cloves.
• Cut the horseradish lengthwise into long strips; about 1/2 inch in diameter.
• Pack 2 cloves of garlic and 2 heads of dills into each bottle.
• Arrange the cucumbers in an upright fashion in two rows. If there is no room for two rows, your cucumbers are too large. In that case, slice them into halves or quarters.
• When the brine is at room temperature, pour it over the cucumbers and be mindful to cover them with brine.
• Cover the jars with a square of parchment paper and fasten them with an elastic band. • Place the remaining brine in a clean jar, cover, and set it aside for use later.
• As the cucumbers ferment, you will have to top off the jars with the reserved brine. If you run out of brine, you can top them up with cold sterilized water. The important thing is to keep the cucumbers submerged.
• The pickles will be ready between 4-6 weeks.
• Taste the pickles periodically and when it’s to you liking, pour the brine into a pot.
• Bring it to a boil, remove from heat and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.
• Meanwhile repack the pickles into clean sterilized jars.
• Pour the brine over the pickles, put on a lid and a screw cap.
• Refrigerate, these pickles should last for six months.
 

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!

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