Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fake New York Deli Style Half Sour Pickles

I grew up in New York - Upstate NY - but we still got the benefit of good Pizza and good Pickles!  I remember going to the local flea market to visit the Pickle Man once a week with his big barrels of Half-Sour Pickles to have with our lunch.  I haven't found another pickle on the market like those Half-Sours  except  Ba Tampte Brand, straight out of Brooklyn to the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

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They are so good (and so expensive)!  So I began to do a little research into how to make my own Half-Sour Pickles and I was amazed at how very easy it is!  I found this great recipe on eHow, but I found the pickles came out a bit too salty.  After a little modification, I've got pickle perfection!

Here's what you need:
1 Quart Size Jar, Cleaned
Approx. 12 Pickling Cucumbers, To Fill Jar
1/4 Cup Kosher or Pickling Salt
1 Tablespoon Pickling Spices
3 Large Cloves Garlic, Peeled
2 Sprigs of Fresh Dill
Approx. 3 Cups Water


1.  Dissolve the salt into the water and set aside.

2.  Wash Cucumbers and cut off both ends.


3.  Put Dill, Pickling Spices & Garlic in the bottom of your jar.

4.  Pack cucumbers in your jar, making sure they're a tight fit so that when the water is added they don't float.

5.  Fill the jar with the Salt Water.  Be careful that the water completely covers the cucumbers.  If any portion of the cucumber is exposed to the air, it will rot and no one wants that!


6.  Cover the jar with a dish towel and let it sit (out of direct sunlight) for 2-3 days.  During this time, the cucumbers will ferment a bit, causing small bubbles to come to the top of the jar.  That's how you know it's working!  The longer you let them sit out, the more sour they'll get.

See the little bubbles?
7.  After they've fermented to your liking, put the jar top on the pickles and move them to the refrigerator.  Let them chill for 1 day.

8.  Finally, using the jar top as an aid, strain 3/4 of the water out of the jar and refill it with fresh water (this step takes the saltiness level way down). Let the pickles chill in the fridge for 1 more day.  Now you've got real NY Deli Style Half-Sour Pickles!  Get your marble rye out and make a sandwich to go with them!

How to Make Half Sour Picklesthumbnail
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Unfortunately, my crop of pickle cucumbers didn't take off as I'd hoped, so I ended up buying a big bag of them from my favorite farm, Butler's Orchard.  This yielded 3 Quarts of pickles!  If you have a few picklers in your garden, however, this recipe is very cheap!

Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

Fake Half-Sour Pickles (Cucumbers $5.00, Pantry $0.50)

Total Fake-It Cost:  $5.50, Yields 3 Quart-Size (32 oz) Containers

Compare to Ba-Tampte Half-Sour Pickles -32 oz Size ($3.29 each)

Total Fake-It Savings:  $4.37


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11 comments:

  1. When you pour the water over the pickles, is it boilng, room temp, or cold?

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  2. I've read (not tried) another method is to put fresh cucumbers into juice retained from the Ba-Tampte jar to sit. Not mentioned, but I think it would be a good idea to remove the original pickles with utensils rather than fingers to reduce bacteria. Can bacteria grow in vinegar? I remember those open barrel pickles at the deli, too. Yummy.

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  3. The water is just cold water from the tap. Just like the Ba Tampte Pickles, they won't last forever in the fridge, so use your nose and good judgement - especially if they've been in hanging around for more than 2 months! Cheers!

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  4. TTTTTTTThank you soooooooo much! I grew up on Batampte and love their pickles. Now that I'm not in NY, I refuse to spend $6 on a bottle (when I can find them!).

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  5. Wow! You have no idea how happy I am to come across this post. I have a garden full of cucumbers right now. My husband and I love pickles, however I have been afraid to look for a pickle recipe online. I am so gonna try this. I am now following you through GFC from the Wild Weekend Hop. Stop over and visit when you get a chance. Thank you for this great post! Have an awesome weekend!
    http://autumnbluesreviews.blogspot.com/

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  6. No vinegar needed? I make pickled cucumbers and green beans and both take vinegar! Will need to try these!

    Would love to have you stop by and share at Calling All Crafters!
    http://allthingsfee.blogspot.com/2011/08/calling-all-crafters-19th-edition.html

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  7. This post made me smile. Thanks for inspiring me and many others to even attempt this feat. Really appreciate that you linked up at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

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  8. What if I add pickle spice, dill, and garlic after the fermentation since the 3/4 of the flavor in the jar is thrown out along with salt?

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  9. I tried your recipe with minor modification. I threw out 5/6 of th water in the jar after first day in the refrigerator.

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  10. I love half sour pickles, but at $7.49 a jar, I think that a bit steep for cukes and salt water. I'm going to try this as soon as I can.

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  11. Thank you! Last time I priced Ba-Tampte's in Houston they were $6 something a jar, and that was years ago. I've seen recipes for BT half sours, but never trusted them, because the author wasn't from NY, so how would they know? LOL

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