Topanga Kosher Pickle Project 

Sunday August 26

Today at Chabad of Topanga we made pickles!

Young and old gathered together to learn about what makes a pickle kosher, the history of the kosher pickle and trade secrets from ""Pickle Bill".

Dr. Bill Flaxman, a 30 year Topanga resident, fondly recalled memories of his Bubby's pickle making. His grandmother would fill a huge wood vat with pickles and invite the family over. Between the grandchildren and relatives "We would polish off the whole barrel" recalls Bill.

Dr. Flaxman also told us about his pickled onion stint that he made for Topanga Days- 25 years ago. "I took a huge metal cylinder and crammed it with onions and garlic. After adding the necessary pickling ingredients, I placed a large piece of wood to keep the onions in place. I then gave the whole barrel to the women's club who sold it at Topanga Days as a fundraiser!"

Then it was time for us to learn the secrets to pickle making. Everyone received a glass jar with a special label prepared by Rabbi Weiss which read "Topanga Kosher Pickles".

First we were instructed to select perfect cucumber without any nicks or blemishes. " a bad pickle can ruin the entire jar of pickles and make them mushy" Bill told  us. (Earlier that day Dr. Flaxman had made a special farmer's market run to get the cucumbers or pickles as he calls them.)

Then we cut up the pickles into rings or spears. Some of us left them whole. The kids of course were closely supervised by this part of the process.

After that we added garlic, fresh dill, pickling spice, fresh laurel bay leaves from Bill's trees, and a mixture of hot water with vinegar and salt.

Finally we all sealed our jars with clear instructions to leave them closed for several days. "The longer they're left- the more sour they will be" said Bill.

Everyone went home reeking of garlic, carrying jugs of pickles and a big smile. Fun was had by all!

Click here for the recipe