So yeah, I saw this Smitten Kitchen post, and got a wild hare about…pickling. This morning, bright and early, I went a-marketing for mustard seed and veggies to soak in brine. I even went a little wild…and bought some cabbage. Now, I dislike cabbage as a rule, but I’m going to see if pickling it–and making my own sauerkraut–will help me over my fear and distaste. Also, homemade sauerkraut is supposed to do good things for your gut bacteria.

And now…for the pickle odyssey! (Pickdyssey? Odypickle?)

Cup of water, cup of vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed…multiply as needed…

Mustard seed

The dough bucket on the right is full of a poolish-based rye-and-whole-wheat bread dough undergoing its bulk rise. Which is in the oven as I type this. Kitchen chemistry and biology is pretty damn awesome.

Fermentation ahoy!

Chop, chop. Chop chop chop. Chop. Chop. And chop some more.

Slice, slice, slice...

What's up, Doc?

I realized that I could spend a LONG TIME julienning everything, and realized at the same moment that I have a very spiffy food processor. This provoked a happy kitchen dance, during which I almost, almost forgot I was holding a knife.

But not quite.

Keep 'em separated

Prep bowls

Bowls and bowls

There was even a bowl of odds and ends for the cavies! No cabbage, though. If they get gas and blow up like little balloons, the kids would be very upset. I’d be pretty vexed too.

For the cavies

That’s cabbage down at the far end, waiting for the brine all by its lonesome. I do have some sauerkraut on the kitchen counter, but the jar here is pickled instead of fermented. I am not sure how either of them are gonna pan out, I have to tell you. At least it’ll be a fun science experiment.

Cabbage on the far end

I had to make another batch (or three) of brine while the jars waited patiently.

Waiting for the brine

So colorful!

Aren’t they pretty?

Marching Pickles

The aftermath. Not so pretty. Fortunately the dishwasher hasn’t given up on me yet. I <3 my dishwasher.

The Aftermath

Whew. Picklin’ ain’t easy. I’ll keep you guys updated on the sauerkraut…

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martian moon crab
martian moon crab

I am in awe and envy, And please, do, update us on the brined not fermenting cabbage..


*Snort* Picklin’ Ain’t Easy t-shirts are going to be flying off the shelves this Christmas!


Homemade sauerkraut is scary* but well worth it – so much better than even the premium-priced stuff you find in the stores. Plus, it has pride of creation, like growing your own lettuce and tomatoes.

*Nothing explosive about it (as in homemade beer); just the scariness that comes from venturing into new territory.


Nice! I had to go a-marketing for some dill to do our first batch of pickles from our garden this season. Still working on perfecting the recipe, though.


My mom made pickles and sauerkraut when I was a kid. We didn’t go through a lot of those things so even with a large family about a dozen jars total would last from one year’s pickling season to the next. We had a dark and quiet spot in the basement where those jars would sit alongside the homemade jams and jellies and it was always such a delight grabbing something from that spot because we always knew it would taste so superior to anything store bought. Unfortunately, she had the recipes in her head and never wrote them down.… Read more »


I have tried Smitten Kitchen’s recipe myself. Due to a no-peppers person in our house, I had to adjust the recipe from the start. We did carrots and cabbage. The results were OK, but we found the brine too strong (note her recipe calls for KOSHER salt – which I don’t have on hand usually) and which is less-salty than sea salt. In conclusion, I am now using this adjusted brine recipe instead: 1 cup distilled white vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon Kosher salt 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds 1 cup cold water Very good with onion, cabbage, carrots,… Read more »