Because Steph specifically asked me to report on this, I offer this post in her honor.
Today, I decided that my Tea Pickles were done fermenting and ready for the fridge. The recipe instructed me to boil the strained brine, discard the solid seasonings (garlic, tea leaves, pepper corns) and to rinse the pickles. Following that, the boiled strained brine is poured over the rinsed pickles that have been packed into clean jars with fresh garlic and pepper corns. I was a bit iffy about these pickles, based on the appearance of the brine while they were fermenting (dreadful looking, but it smelled good).
I am delighted, nay, ecstatic to report that the pickles are really special. At first bite, you think, hmm, a half-sour pickle. A moment later, you realize that there is no dill but instead an subtle smokey undertone that was wonderful. In fact, I think that I would double the tea next time to get more smokiness.
An wonderfully different pickle. I recommend it. If you are interested in the recipe, leave a comment.