Friday, July 29, 2011

Perfect pickle weights

Making pickles requires keeping the vegetables submerged in the brine so they don't get yucky. But what to use as weights?

Hmm. This may be traditional but I have a hard time believing I could get them clean enough.

Plastic baggies filled with pickling juice?
This is what is usually recommended but it just doesn't appeal to me. (Does the plastic leach anything out during the fermenting period?)

Hand-made ceramic discs?
They're lovely but they're $22 (plus shipping) for three, and each jar needs a couple so that would get pretty expensive to do the multiple jars of pickles I've got going on.

No, the perfect solution are these little glass candle holders from IKEA.
Pickle weights

They're called Glimma and at $1.99 for a six-pack, they're safe, sanitary, and cheap.
And they fit perfectly inside wide-mouthed Ball jars.
So, fill the jar with vegetables (leaving a bit of headspace) and top off with brine, allowing the liquid to flow into the glass dish, so it is full and submerged too. Wipe up any spills, screw the lid on, and let the fermentation begin!
Ready to pickle

Wren and pickles

(P.S. Glimma also comes in a smaller size. Maybe they could work for narrow-mouth canning jars??)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Dex picks a blackberry

It's blackberry time! So far here at Smalltropolis, we've made a cobbler and a pie, each of which took 6 cups of blackberries. We've got a jar of berries covered with sugar and sitting in a sunny window—slowly transforming into thick, sweet blackberry syrup. Of course, quite a few berries just got munched on or plopped into cereal. And we just froze another 10 cups! (For winter cobblers...oooooh...)

And it's far from over; there are still scores more on the bushes. Quite a season, eh? (Guess this unbearable hot weather is good for something.)


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Melvin gets interviewed

While at the Four Week Film workshop at Maine Media, Melvin was interviewed by fellow video student Keith Feher. (Filmed by J. Scott Crist.)