For information on pickling, visit www.almanac.com.
It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby, and Mike Nosach is a prime example.
The 68-year-old Murrayville man began his pickle-making hobby just four years ago and has kept it up ever since.
“Anyone can do it, really,” he said while pulling pickles out of his old-fashioned crock and sliding them into clear, glass jars Tuesday afternoon at his home.
Nosach never intended to start the pickling process until he and his wife, Sue, moved from Alpharetta to North Hall in 2001. It was there where they met their neighbors, who had enough space for a garden.
The Nosachs saw the fresh produce popping out of the Georgia soil and asked to join the community effort. The neighbors nodded in approval.
After each harvest, Nosach notices the overabundance of cucumbers from the garden year after year. And the green vegetable proved difficult to give away.
Nosach decided it was a waste and took matters into his own hands. He decided to turn the cucumbers into pickles.
The process appeared to be easy.
According to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” home cooks can make a brine out of pickling salt, water and vinegar. Then you heat the liquid mixture to dissolve the salt and cool.
Next the cucumbers are layered with fresh dill in a large crock and the brine is poured over it.
For two 2 weeks, white scum will appear on the top of the pickles. It needs to be removed daily.
When the two weeks is up, home cooks should pack the vegetables in hot, sterile jars.
Nosach didn’t follow this recipe, but pulled his instructions off the Internet, using cooks.com and foodnetwork.com.
With the simple instructions, Nosach has fresh, homemade pickles to eat. And this year, he has made two batches.
One is fermented in a sweeter, garlicky brine while the other has peppers and spicier ingredients.
The spicy recipe is new to his repertoire. The bonus is it’s his wife’s favorite. Therefore, she doesn’t mind losing the valuable refrigerator space the pickles occupy.
“I get a lot of encouragement on these,” Nosach said.
When choosing recipes, he said he was originally looking for a recipe that allowed him to slice the cucumbers because his homegrown vegetables were too big to fit into the jars.
He can ferment 12 to 15 pounds of pickles in his large, white crock.
Once the cucumbers have transformed into pickles, he transfers the vegetable from the crock into the jars. Next, he fills the jar with the brine.
Finally, he places the jars into his fridge, setting aside some for himself and his wife. The extra pickles are given to friends, family and neighbors.
Nosach said he prefers to make pickles with the refrigerated method rather than canning them. Refrigerating the pickles takes less time and effort, but canning keeps them fresh for a longer period of time and allows for cupboard storage.
“Being a lazy guy, I was like ‘I’m not getting into all of that,’” Nosach said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
Nosach’s sister-in-law, Patti Sigmon, created a logo and sticker for the pickles because she liked them so much.
The sticker on the lid shows a gray-bearded, camouflage-hat-wearing man with the slogan “Nosuch Pickles.” On the side of the jar, a camouflage background with the words “No Such Taste Like This! Pickled with Pride by Mike Nosach, Murrayville, GA”.
When Nosach isn’t busy pickling — he plants seeds in April and harvests them in July or August — they run a tree farm in Washington.
The couple also head outdoors for recreational fun.
“We plant food pots for animals, go to the lake, go fishing,” Nosach said. “Except now, when the weather is at 90 degrees.”