Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bloater: Pickle Mishaps

Last night I was about to head out to a birthday party when I plunged an arm into my pickle crock to pull out the grape leaves.  I'd noticed a "new smell" earlier in the day, a smell that wasn't exactly offensive, but different, and I attributed it to the grape leaves.  It had to be the grape leaves, it couldn't be anything else.  I was on the phone with my friend Paul, and he was telling me about cooking BBQ chicken and hot dogs for Conan O'Brien, but I didn't really give a damn because I kept wandering past the crock, thinking about all the grape leaves I'd stuffed in there like an idiot.  Later, my mom called to tell me that she was homeless and something about my brother getting married, but I didn't really care about that either because the smell had invaded my brain.  It was like grape-leaf sabotage on my personal life.  Eventually my mom told me I should just reach in there and pull out the damn leaves, so I did.  It wasn't the grape leaves.  It was a bloater.  But what is a bloater?

 
A bloater is a pickle that explodes.  Gas builds up inside the cucumber and the cucumber explodes.  The bacteria go hog wild and transform its slug-like guts into a gooey, disgusting substance that gets all over your arm.  I showed up to the party smelling like bacteria.  I was so excited to tell everyone how a bloater happens. 

A combination of things make a bloater happen.  The main factors are (a) heat, (b) brine that's not salty enough, and finally (c) cucumbers that are too big.  The cores of bigger cucumbers are foamy, not dense.  I started this batch of half sours about two days before the record exploding heat wave whacked us this week.  I also used somewhat larger cucumbers than I'd normally want to.  The combination of those two factors resulted in the disaster shown above: TOTAL PICKLE MELTDOWN.  My crock got too hot and my pickles were too hollow, and one of them exploded, and the bacteria went nuts and ruined everything.  I could have salvaged a couple of the smaller ones (they were still firm), but I didn't.  I went to the party instead.  

  

1 comment:

alex said...

I'm over at Chef Simms house; we're making braised pork shoulder tacos. It shall be delicious, and I am prepared. We talk a lot like all people do, but nothing gets accomplished but the food we prepare: degenerates, from the beer drinking society of Chicago land: all we fancy is food and beer, and would never stoop to the levels that faggy artists muster up for themselves in utter egotisticalness. We only see stews, pan fried goodies, and a veriety of other dishes that we have invented. If ever someone sits and decides to draw a worthless picture, we will have him beheaded like the great Al Queda excel at. We see art as something that goes in the stomach, and fail not to falter even in fofu land LA...