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Old 11-04-2018, 05:47 AM
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Default Pickle All the Things!

:dpickle: :pepper: :carrot: :vegcook: :carrot: :pepper: :dpickle:

Recently I've been pickling a few different things to be thrown into any assorted meal I make and thought I would share a few basic recipes and thoughts here. Many pickled things go great in asian style food as just a random tangy vegetable tossed in.

My two main methods are pretty simple, one is to just reuse pickle juice from a store bought brand you like, such as actual pickles, I've found jalapeno pepper vinegar brines to be good. Most pickling mixes are good for at least two pickling runs, so a store bought jar is strong enough for at least one more run, if not two.

The other is to make your own pickling mix, the base being a 1:1 of water and white vinegar, a tb spoon of salt to about every 2 cups of this mix, plus a bit of black pepper and chopped garlic. Sugar if wanting sweetness. Turmeric can be added for both a tangy flavor and a yellow coloring effect if you care about the color, many store brands just use food dyes to fake the extra green color. Add spices ad nauseam if you want, chillie flakes come to mind, but this mix does pretty well. Especially since they have a multiple run life I like to swap the brines so the white onions get lightly boiled with the jalapeno brine and vice versa.

Done in a 2 quart jar I fill it with chopped vegetable of choice, often onion, then poor in the brine. Some recipes say to heat the brine to boil and then pour it over them but I find the lazy all in the jar way works as long as you're not trying to do whole tomatoes or large items. Generally heated in the microwave just enough to get the brine moving and roiling and some of the vegies floating and then allow to cool at room temp for a couple hours works great and is ready to eat after those few hours or let sit over night for use next day. The more you boil things the faster they get the vinegar flavor but the more mushy they can get, hence why sturdy vegies are often used and cutting things into medium sized pieces allows for a quicker infusion, it's even good to break onion pieces up when they stick to each other so it's a bunch of individual pieces. (Note: I like to use jars with plastic lids but the extra lazy way is to use old pickle jars, this works so long as you wipe the lid and rim occasionally, the brine mixture will cause it to rust a bit.)

So far good success with Onions, both white and sweet are great to quick pickle. Red is great as well although expect anything put in with it to be turned a bit of a pink, the vinegar will strip the red to a neon color and color the water. Jalapenos and other peppers have a color change point turning dull and a drab green/yellow where they lose a portion of their "green pepper" flavor, so heating them until they all change or leaving some greener can have an effect on the flavor. Habeneros it seems less so because of their thinner skin, a light heating is all they need. Carrots work great and if you aren't like me and add ghost chili pepper flakes to the jalapenos to give them extra kick, carrot slices do indeed soak up spicy flavors quite well and are useful for taming a pepper as is cauliflower.

Actual cucumber pickles are best done with smaller pickling cucumbers and are best if heated then allowed to sit for awhile instead of boiled, too much boiling can mush them, and a colder process gives a snappier pickle, it just takes much longer. I want to get into doing fermented brine pickles but haven't yet. Which for those that don't know and that may not care about pickling of things, produces both the sour krouts and the Kimchis of the world, at least as long as they aren't imitation. It takes longer and can produce a bit more sour or varied flavor, as well as some gases, but a bit of the process is the same, the fermentation turns things into acids that permeate the vegi while in the absence of oxygen. The high acid environment then fends off most bad bacteria to pickle the veggies.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2023, 03:06 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Iíve been craving fermented things, and if I could have my way I would have several gallon jars full of fermented pickles, vegies and sauerkraut, but all the hipster brands are so expensive, so Iím attempting to make my own!

Sour Pickles.

Cucumbers.
Salt, 9 grams per cup of water, which is said to be a 3.5% brine.
Fresh Dill
Peppercorns
Garlic
Bay leaf

While not in any recipe I added a table spoon or two of sauerkraut juice under the presumption of starting it off with some live culture, but I have no idea of that will make any difference. Somewhere I have a little plastic airlock but I couldnít find it so Iím going with the overflow and skim the top method.

Thereís several things I want to experiment with and more herbs I want to try but right now this is just an attempt to see if I can ferment some pickles and not die.
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2023, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

I have some plastic airlocks and they're good for relatively small batches, but my favorite is the E-Jen fermentation crock. It's plastic and looks almost exactly like my compost container, but it's got this perforated press plate thing on the inside to hold your [kimchi/sauerkraut/pickles/whatever] under the brine, and it keeps the light out of the container. It's super easy, and I haven't had any trouble with mold the way I sometimes do with other techniques. They carry them at H Mart and other larger Asian markets.

And I just started a mugolio experiment. It's a pine syrup made by fermenting unopened baby pinecones in sugar for a month+. I've never tried it before, so I don't know what to do with it or if I'll even like it at all, but I too like fermenting things, and the pinecones are free.
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Old 06-11-2023, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Oow the E-Jen looks interesting! Fermented Pinecone sugar sounds weird/tastey and like something that will either go well on only one or two specific dishes, or get eaten out of jar before it makes it to the plate.

I had enough cucumbers to make a third jar last night without any Sauerkraut juice, as Iím curious if it will have any affect.
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Old 06-13-2023, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Day 2.5
So far no mold at the interface.
The two with starter have semi-clear yellow liquid and are already smelling sour, the non-starter has a light sour note with a lighter dirt/funk note and white cloudy water. I topped them all up with plain brine to keep oxygen out, and back in the dark they go.
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Old 06-16-2023, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Day 5

Took a couple samples, Iím glad I did the non-sauerkraut jar for comparison. The jars with sauerkraut starter are about half sour, the one without is about a quarter sour with an additional tang. From the small sample I had, I like both but the sauerkraut starters do have a Ďcleanerí flavor to them.

Filled to the top and back in the dark, so far no mold issues, they have at least another 5 days and Iím curious if the flavor will even out or diverge more.
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Old 06-21-2023, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Eating pickles.

At 10 days the two with starter are exactly what I wanted!
While not crisp they’re still crunchy, I’m maybe missing some herbs and the dill could be stronger, but otherwise they’re sour garlic dill pickles with a slight and enjoyable tang.

The non-starter are mushy at top of the jar and only firm up further down, sour with a slightly odd chlorine like taste. They’re not bad, but aren’t good in comparison to the others.

One article I read said the flower end contains enzymes that can cause them to go mushy so you should cut 1/16” off but I wanted whole pickles so I scrapped the flower residue off instead. It’s possible the pure salt brine allowed the enzymes enough activity to mush a bit of the cucumber before being deactivated.

When I get more cucumbers I’m absolutely doing a big batch with Clausen Sauerkraut juice in it as a starter, I’m also curious how other brands do. As well as a test with cut flower ends.
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  #8  
Old 06-30-2023, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

I would happily buy the last ones from the store and now theyíre gone.
Letís see if itís just luck, and to do it proper.

The Ball Jars were a bit too cramped so Iím going with the next step up in pickle jars before I inevitably get a couple E-Jens. The ratio of ingredients is still mostly a guess based on what felt right for a medium flavor, but this time an exactly measured guess so I can do it again if it works.

Jar #1
Medium

I test fit whole pickles into Jar #1 before starting and of the three it also has the most cucumber to brine at around 1:1.

678g Cucumbers
663g Brine (9g Salt to 240g water)
20g Sonoma Brinery Sauerkraut juice.
8g Garlic chopped into thirds
6g Fresh Dill
5g Whole Peppercorn
1.5g Dill Weed dry
1.5g Mustard Seed
1g Coriander seed
1g Bay Leaf
~0.015g MSG (tiny pinch).

Jar #2
Double.

1.5x the garlic, 2x all other herbs, no change to brine or MSG.
When measured out double dill seems a bit absurd, but who knows!

Jar #3
Half.

0.5x all herbs including garlic, no change to brine or MSG.

The Bay leaves are said to be for the tannins to maintain firmness, it will be interesting to see if half bay leaves affect the texture.

Jar #4
Tip control

Same herbs as Jar #1 but the tips have been cut instead of aggressively scrapped. A test both for texture and to see how repeatable this whole thing really is. Iím not adverse to cut pickle but part of the point is the sensation of biting into a whole juicy fermented pickle.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2023, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

So I have two jars of pickles going right now. Same batch, same recipe, they just didn't fit in one jar. One is doing great, but the second, in the larger jar, has developed the dreaded kahm yeast, which is what just happened to my ginger bug too. Maybe it traveled.

Anyways, I'm only like a week into the process, but I'm going to do an experiment too, albeit a poorly documented and controlled one. I'm going to drain the tainted pickles, rinse them off good, remake the brine, and see if I can reboot the process partway in.

Tomorrow's the day I pick up the farmshare, so I might get more to experiment with then.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2023, 04:27 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Oow good luck!

I donít know that much about yeast. If it was mold I would say that it certainly traveled. Once you get a little, you get a lot. My place is pretty mold free mostly because anything that molds goes out immediately and anything it touched gets wiped down. If it changed colors that expands to the whole general area.

Mold needs oxygen and moisture, Iíve been overfilling my jars and topping them up to keep the gap between the lid and the water interface as small as possible specifically to try and reduce oxygen, and prevent any non-salty water condensation that can act as mini beach heads. Iíve grown enough mold to have a general idea how to not grow mold, and while yeasts are fungi, theyíre just different enough that none of that might matter.
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Old 07-06-2023, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Iíve discovered a flaw in using jars without pickle weights, itís not the pickles so much as the herbs that all want to float to the top and be a potential growth medium for bad things.

I think the cucumbers in Jar 4 already had some mold growing as I found a tiny amount of blue green attached to white on the jar top outer ring and some white spots on the cucumbers under the water where it tried to grow before being stopped. I wiped all the jars, lids, and rims down. Moldís reaction to salt water is generally to form a protective barrier before either growing very slowly or dying, so there shouldnít be any nasty metabolites, but I guess Iíll find out.

None of the others seem to have issues, but are all cloudier than previously at this time. I now have the hypothesis that the Ďhalf herbí jar is going to turn out the best as it has the least amount of floating bits spending time at the interface.

Either way Iím certainly going to hunt the E-Jen at the local asian stores or (gasp) buy them online, as go figure, it would solve most of my issues.
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Old 07-06-2023, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Are you using canning/pickling salt, or regular salt? Supposedly, it helps with the cloudiness.

I don't much care about that because it doesn't seem to matter except cosmetically, but I use it anyway because it's not expensive and what the hell.

Oh, and update on the washed pickles and sterilized jar: The yeast is back, but slower. I haven't tried them yet, so we'll see. The other jar remains A-OK.
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Old 07-06-2023, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

YouTube has a channel called "Try", which features Irish folk trying foods and drink from other places. Last night, Mrs. S. and I watched "Irish People Try More Weird Pickled Foods," featuring Irish folk trying capers, pickled garlic, pickled turkey gizzards, and pickled pig lips. Might have been something else in there, too. Now I wonder what they ate the first time around.
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Old 07-07-2023, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShottleBop View Post
YouTube has a channel called "Try", which features Irish folk trying foods and drink from other places. Last night, Mrs. S. and I watched "Irish People Try More Weird Pickled Foods," featuring Irish folk trying capers, pickled garlic, pickled turkey gizzards, and pickled pig lips. Might have been something else in there, too. Now I wonder what they ate the first time around.
First time: pickled okra, pickled green beans, pickled sausages, pickled quail eggs, pickled pigs' feet

The third time: pickled cockles, pickled mussels, pickled lamb's tongue, pickled tripe, pickled pig snouts
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Old 07-14-2023, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
And I just started a mugolio experiment. It's a pine syrup made by fermenting unopened baby pinecones in sugar for a month+. I've never tried it before, so I don't know what to do with it or if I'll even like it at all, but I too like fermenting things, and the pinecones are free.
I just tried my mugolio. OMG. It's got this greenish citrusy flavor with a subtle little peppery kick in the back, sweet but not as overwhelmingly as you'd think from something that started out literally as pinecones buried in sugar. I still don't know what to do with it, but it is precious.

Maybe I start over with the ginger bug to make a mugolio ginger beer or something. Or add it to some tonic water for as sort of virgin gin and tonic? It's a tiny amount, so I don't want to waste any.

PS: My fermented pickles are way too salty. I am going to do more experiments soon. (I chickened out and quick pickled and canned my latest batch just to guarantee some.)
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Old 07-14-2023, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

I have pickled onions, banana peppers and jalapeŮos (our neighbor friend had a large surplus of peppers and just gave us a bunch).

Just been doing simple stuff like reusing brine from store-bought, or vinegar (mix of white and apple cider) plus salt, sugar, some seasoning.

I'll try adding turmeric if I get a bunch of banana peppers again to make them more appealingly colored.

Of course, every Christmas we also make Swedish pressgurka, which is basically cucumber sliced very thinly (with a mandolin, or a food processor if you have the appropriate blade and want it done much more quickly and with less chance of skinning a finger), with a white vinegar, salt and sugar solution and then squished under some weight (we use a stack of plates). Traditionally, you should squish the cucumber first (hence the "press" of pressgurka), and then drain the juice and then add the vinegar solution, but my mom doesn't like it to be quite so sour, so leaving the cucumber juice is fine I guess.

My mom insists we need to use Swedish šttiksprit (highly concentrated vinegar which must be diluted significantly and isn't even really safe to use otherwise) otherwise it won't taste right. But we haven't done a thorough taste test to confirm whether that's really true. But I think it is true that different white vinegars have some variation in taste...
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Old 07-15-2023, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

I fridged the 4 jars at around 13 days, all are good, the surprising thing is the half herb seems significantly more sour, Iím not sure if itís actually more acidic or if the herbs are just hiding it in the others, but it seems to have a different characteristic than just less herbs.

I havenít inspected every pickle yet but it seems like the tip enzymes create occasional voids of air/gas in the pickles where seeds should be, the flesh around the voids is nice and crisp but too large of a void does cause the pickle on a whole to feel mushy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
I just tried my mugolio. OMG. It's got this greenish citrusy flavor with a subtle little peppery kick in the back, sweet but not as overwhelmingly as you'd think from something that started out literally as pinecones buried in sugar. I still don't know what to do with it, but it is precious.
Oow that sounds tasty! Iíve yet to venture into the weird world of sugar fermentation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir View Post
Of course, every Christmas we also make Swedish pressgurka
That reminds me of Japanese pickled cucumbers that are sliced very thin in rice vinegar. Iím going to have to try squishing them.
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Old 08-22-2023, 05:03 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

A few more batches in and Iíve learned two things,

First is there can be too much pepper. I cranked up the peppercorn to 11 on a partial batch, and while all the subtle flowery flavors were there a persistent and all permeating peppercorn flavor without the feeling of biting into peppercorn is unnerving.

Second is that 3.5% brine works only when thereís a full jar of cucumbers to water it down, 3.5% brine to only half a jar is edging on too salty.

Currently fermenting are two jars made exactly the same but one with Clausen kraut starter and the other with Sonoma Brinery starter.
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Old 08-29-2023, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

I recently made pickled okra with my oldest who, despite being a highly picky eater, loves pickled okra* (go figure). It was easier to pickle than I had anticipated, but I went with an off the shelf pickling spice mix and it wasn't the greatest. I think we're going to have to make our own spice mix with the next batch. Only 6 more jars we need to go through!

I also did a marinated eggplant recipe which I remember from my days as a kid when my mom used to make it. Basically peel and then thinly slice a couple of eggplants, pack it into a jar with red wine vinegar and let it sit for a week in the fridge. Pull it out, squeeze out all the vinegar, pour some olive oil on the eggplant, add in diced celery and carrots, and minced garlic, salt and pepper to your liking. I let the flavors meld for a few more days and then it's ready to eat.

*and true to form, he doesn't like fried okra, and he hates boiled okra too (though to be fair, I don't blame him for that one).
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Old 09-03-2023, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Thereís a point in every project where you look down the rabbit hole just right and suddenly see the cavern that it opens up into, I think I just saw that cavern.

While only a two jar sample with the same exact ingredients, the Sonoma Brinery jar has an excellent earthy funk to it and the Clausen jar a bright crisp almost citric sour. The difference is noticeable enough to consider the starter another ingredient. Thereís definitely different species/strains/etc going on between the two of them.

Iím also pretty sure now that a huge amount of my success has been riding on the back of using a well cultivated starter.
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Old 09-04-2023, 01:29 AM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Oldest daughter just made a batch of Pickles couple of weeks ago.

Hopefully, they're ready to sample pretty soon.
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Old 10-03-2023, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Oh hey! A pickling thread!

This is a good place for a PSA:

SOME VENDORS HAVE STARTED SELLING VINEGAR THAT IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO PICKLE FOODS.

If you are buying vinegar, be very very sure that it says it is 5% or more acidity. If it says 4% acidity, it is not strong enough. If you have tried to pickle something in under-5% vinegar, and it's been out more than about a day, you should probably assume it's no longer safe to eat.

Example link:

Safety Concern with Vinegar Acidity Level in Home Canning

This has apparently become a significant problem in the last few months, because a lot of stores switched to lower-acidity vinegar without mentioning that it was no longer safe to use it to pickle things.
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  #23  
Old 10-13-2023, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

Of my most recent batch the 'simple herb' spent some time with bits of pickle above water and has clearly gotten a yeast, it also bubbled the least. While done last, I can only presume the other jars were exposed but fought it off enough to not be noticeable. Which follows with my hypothesis that the herbs aren't just for flavor as those with high tannins and garlic seem to bubble more and act a bit different than those without.

I've also retroactively discovered why pickle jars often have little bits of garlic in them, to get a good fresh garlic flavor it really needs to be added once they go into the fridge, on the other hand garlic added right at the beginning adds to the sulphur stinky funk. The Jar I've labeled stinky garlic feet makes the entire apartment smell for a solid half hour whenever opened. It's also a reason I'm looking to get a few more E-jen containers to reduce the amount my cabinet stinks during process.

My other experiment using herbs for a stew such as thyme, oregeno and celery seed, came out really interesting and I don't understand why there aren't a wider variety of pickle flavors out there.
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  #24  
Old 10-13-2023, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

The daughter has tried canning/pickling for the last two years, and so far, has ended with relative disaster both times.

I always thought that for canning anything, one needed a pressure cooker, which she does not have. (This from my limited experience with helping Grandmother with canning when I was quite young.)

I thought about sharing this thrad with her, but so far she has never appreciated unsolicited advice, ever, so I have, to date, avoided even a hint at suggesting anything. (A difficult task for a constant meddler such as myself.)
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  #25  
Old 10-14-2023, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Pickle All the Things!

The pickles I like most in the world are "new pickles" from Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, and I've never found one exactly the same anywhere else. I recently learned that Zingerman's actually gets the pickles from a Detroit company called Topor's, but alas they don't reveal the details of their recipe or process. So for the meantime I will have to keep buying them from Zingerman's, which fortunately sells them by the jar or 5-gallon bucket now. Back in the day they were only for sale individually or with a sandwich! I would make them myself if I thought I could, but I don't think I can.
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