Does Your Pickle Glow?

The other night we had an informal barbecue in the neighbor’s back yard.  One of the kids had an electricity generating kit and a dad suggested they try to light up a pickle.  Excuse me?  After making sure there was nothing illegal going on we set about hunting for the largest dill pickle possible.

Pickle man excitedly ran back home to grab our pickle jar because I had made kosher-style dills with the largest of the garden cucumbers at the end of the season last year.  Some of those jars had just a few pickles in each because they were so big!

He came back, primed with pickle and they eagerly set about putting the right wires in the right places, there was a dramatic moment when the electricity was turned on and then…nothing.  They tried it again…nothing. And just as they were dejectedly putting away the tools of their scientific flop I suggested they get a commercial pickle.

A few minutes later someone appeared with a jar of unnamed dill pickles and they went about hooking up the new substitute pickle.  Expecting nothing they milled around unexcitedly.  The electricity was again turned on and the pickle did indeed come to life.  It glowed and sparked like the fourth of July.

Commercial picklers use alum in order to achieve that classic “crunch”.  That’s right, readers.  Those were the sparks of metal rescued from the mouths of babes.  Now who’s planning to make pickles from now on instead of buying them?  Hopefully YOU.

note:  On doing more research I read that this may work because of the salt levels and not just the metal factor.  Either way I’m happy to be making a less toxic version of my oldest child’s favorite snack.

15 Responses to Does Your Pickle Glow?

  1. Oh. Wow.

    Anybody have a good ‘bread n’ butter’ pickle recipe?

  2. I need a good bread n butter recipe too.

    Alum. Sheesh.

  3. Wow. I knew pickles were worth making myself.

  4. I’ve made a couple jars of dill pickles for the first time this year, but they’re just refrigerator pickles. What is your recipe?

  5. My mom has always made our pickles, this year I decided to make my own.

    I just made my first batch~Raw Sun Pickles! And they are fabulous. Mine stay in the frig for up to 6 months.

    Your own pickles are the way to go, thanks for reaffirming why we do it.

  6. WOW!!! I def. wanted to try pickles this year but this makes it a definite. No more store bought for us…

  7. Wow! Haha! Great thinking on the commercial pickle! It’s amazing what people will unknowingly consume!

  8. Oh. My. Gosh.

    /goes off to read about pickling things

  9. The other factor is the amount of salt. I imagine they use tons of salt.

  10. Home canners use alum often too, so it is not just a function of commercial processing necessarily. However, when you are canning your own you know exactly what went into it and make those choices conciously – not by accident or ignorance. Grape leaves are a good alternative that produces a nice crunch without the alum addition.

  11. Aluminum is not a heavy metal. There is a reason why Boeing uses so much of it in 737s.

  12. I need to dig my pickle recipes out. I finally have grape leaves to use this year to keep them fresh without alum or pickling lime (my other standby). I don’t have cucumbers yet though so it may be another month before I find my canning pickle recipes. In the meantime I’m starting some dilly beans in the crock tomorrow that you can adapt for cucumbers.
    Cynthia what are your sun pickles? Those sound interesting!
    Jess let’s pickle together online. ;p
    Tracy I did some reading and you may be right. Either way too much of something we don’t need.
    KFG that’s true. I usually use pickling lime from Mrs. Wages but now I have grape leaves! So excited. If only I had some lamb right now to stuff them with…
    Chris you are right. Not heavy. That was Dio and Sabbath.

  13. Oh my, did I just age myself with the heavy metal reference or what? do they even still have heavy metal music now?

  14. do you have a dill pickle recipe you could/would share? I am curious if you you brine for days and if so do you brine in glass containers, a crock, or will a plastic food grade container work? Love your book, blog, website. You are quite an inspiration. Thanks, Mary

  15. Hi Mary – thank you! If you have the book I have a standard dill pickle recipe on p 238 and fermented pickle recipe on p 220 (dilly beans with a cucumber variation.) I use mason jars or a crock or a Harsch fermenter depending on what is free when I make them. I don’t like to put anything acidic in plastic because it leaches. Hope this helps!

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