Kitten Whiskers: Buddha and the Crackpickles

What’s the use of having your own blog if you can’t have a little fun with it every now and then? It’ll never be a scheduled thing, but “Kitten Whiskers” is the name for posts where I go rando fangirl for a few of my favorite things.

“I’m hungry,” Sloan said. She was jittery and getting on my nerves.

“You’re not hungry.” I said

“How would you know?”

“It’s just subliminal suggestion. You feel an increase in appetite because you’re watching a guy eat.”

“The pickles here,” she said.

“I know.”


“I know.”

It’s like they put something in them that makes you crave them all the time. It might be crack. Do you think they put crack in the pickles? Like maybe in the, what do you call it? The stuff in the jar with the pickles?”

Easy Buddha by Brett Dinelli, all rights reserved, used with permission.

I have learned how to make crackpickles.

NO they do NOT have crack in them. Not even in the stuff in the jar. They are just good old fashioned deli style fermented pickles. But YES, they are heavily crave-able. I mean, you seriously, seriously want one at random times. Especially when there is a big old jar of them in the ‘fridge that you made with you own little hands for a fraction of the price of those tiny little tubs in the grocery store.

When the lockdown first hit, I did the sourdough thing like everyone else. Mostly because jars of yeast for baking was nowhere to be found and we were in serious grilled cheese and cinnamon roll comfort food mode.

Sourdough is, after all, a sort of fermenting. Maybe my prohibition era Appalachian ancestors were whispering though the ages to amp up my fermenting skills. Maybe it was my love of dill pickles. But sourdough gave way to pickle making.

After googling up a storm for hints, tips and recipes (not to mention all the probiotic goodnesses of fermented food) plus several months of experimentation I found the magic formula for our version of crackpickles. That isn’t to say anyone else would like them…or be able to get past the slightly funky looking brine (you know, the jar juice) Here is our favorite version. It is in the middle between the throw anything in a crock with some saltwater and a plate on top school of thought and the water lock fermenting lids that look like they escaped from Frankenstein’s laboratory.

Here is what I consider essential gear:

  1. Cucumbers. Nothing fancy. Just the big, ordinary cucumbers from the grocery story. We tried some fancy bumpy cucumbers that were supposed to be THE ones for pickling. They weren’t.
  2. A wide mouth mason jar. I started with just one (they sell singles at Michael’s craft store and probably lots of places during gardening and canning season) If you start with just one, it lets you experiment at small scale until you find your true love addictive recipe. More and larger jars are easy enough to find if you want to ramp up production later on.
  3. Fermentation lid and weight. I used the single starter kit from Mason Jar Lifestyle. It was affordable, with a simple, elegant design. Easy. And no, they didn’t sponsor this or give me a sample. I bought it just like everyone else. This is random fangirling, remember?

The Recipe:

  1. Wash and dry your jar(s) lid(s) and weight(s) Any kind of canning or food prep like this is one of those crazy scrupulous clean freak kind of things.
  2. Put a bay leaf in the bottom of the jar (optional) for crispness
  3. Chunk, slice, quarter or whatever cut the cucumbers and pack them into the jar. Stuff them in there…you’ll get the hang of it. A tight fit is good.
  4. Dissolve 1 rounded Tbs salt in 2 cups of chlorine free water for each quart jar. Casper the friendly lactobaccilus doesn’t like chlorine or the iodine, so don’t use those. Iodine-free fine granular sea salt or pickling salt with filtered water worked well for us. Tried some fancy pink Himalayan in one batch because it was close at hand from another recipe. Tasted fine, but made some deeply weird looking pink sludge at the bottom of the jar.
  5. sprinkle 1 Tbs of dill weed (yeah, I used dried and it gets all over the pickles. So what?) and 1 tsp of granulated garlic (yeah it makes the brine look cloudy and a little suspect in the end, but it is really ok. Honest!) over the cucumbers in each quart jar.
  6. Pour the salt water over the cucumbers until jar is filled. Put the glass weight on top to keep the cucumbers submerged and close with the fermenting lid.
  7. Let them set for two weeks at room temperature. Tweek the lid once a day to release any carbon dioxide that forms. If you forget, the lid will spit juice out all over the place as it releases the gas and you might have to add a little more salt water to top it off. Days 3-5 seem to be the most bubbly and science experiment-y
  8. At the end of a week or two of wondering if you have just made a jar of botulism sauce, take a whiff. If it smells bad, or is moldy, pitch it all, wash the daylights out of the jar and try again. If it smells like mouth watering dill pickles, try one. If it tastes good, put a regular lid on it and store the jar in the refrigerator. If the pickle isn’t sour enough, let them go another week or two at room temperature before moving them to the refrigerator. I have no idea how long they will last beyond that. We ate ours within a couple of days.
  9. Buy more jars and fermenting lids. This may ruin you for store bought vinegar based pickles.

While you are eating your new pickles, get yourself a copy of Jimmy the Buddha and the sequal Easy, Buddha both by Brett Dinelli. They are brain candy and comfort food in book form punctuated by moments with all of the feels and brilliant insights. Chapter 8 of Jimmy the Buddha. That. Forever that. It may be a fictional detective adventure, but the characters are deeply relatable and real. Kind of makes you want to put your arms around them, although I suspect Sloan might object.

I’ve never actually met Brett or his special lady and their family, but we have chatted many times on Twitter and I call them friends. *raises cup of medium roast columbian – coffee*

Related: TaoCraft Tarot has playlists on spotify: Rando Fangirl

Author: SageWordsTarot

I read Tarot, write e-books and make stuff. 25 + years experience reading Tarot, oracle cards. Retired Tai Chi instructor. Reiki master-practitioner 20+ years

2 thoughts on “Kitten Whiskers: Buddha and the Crackpickles”

  1. Between 9-10 years old was when I discovered how delicious dill pickle juice is. Have been drinking it is small gulps ever since. No sweet pickles please. The sourer the better!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: