And by pickles, I mean kosher dills. I “put up” two quart of them tonight, filled mostly with produce that I bought at the Alemany Farmer’s Market yesterday. Well. the cucumbers, garlic and dill at least. The salt and “pickling spice” were store bought. While it is true one can just buy dill pickles at the store, I find them uninspired. They do not take my back to my childhood when my Grandma would make her own pickles from cucumbers grown in her garden. Therefore I’ve taken to making my own – where taking to is one abortive attempt and one successful attempt last year, and one attempt starting tonight this year.
A few things to keep in mind when making these pickles:
- Pickles don’t like to be too warm or too cold when they are fermenting (because kosher dills are fermented, not vinegar pickles. Keep them in a cool place, not the fridge,and do not let them get over 80 degrees, or you might end up with mush. If it is very cold the fermentation will be slow to non-existant.
- Again on the subject of mush, evidently the stems contain an enzyme which can break down vegetable matter, so make sure to cut the stems off to remove all traces of them
- Try it! It’s easy, arguably fun, and the results are tasty if you keep the top two points in mind
A quart jar can hold approximately 1 pound of cucumbers.
1. Into the bottom of each quart jar place:
1 heaping tablespoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 heaping teaspoon pickling spices
2 peeled cloves of garlic
3 sprigs of fresh dill
2. Fill the jars small cucumbers, stems cut off, sliced in half or quarters if they are very stout. Pack them in fairly tight but leave some room on the top
3. Place 3 more sprigs of fresh dill on top of the vegetables to prevent them from floating.
4. Fill the jars with cold water right to the brims, put on the screw caps and invert the jars enough to dissolve the salt. Slightly loosen the caps to allow the escape of the fermentation gases and the brine to leak out. Put the jars in a cool dark place, with plenty of newspaper underneath to soak up any overflowing brine.
5. Check the pickles every few days, and if you see any scum on top, scoop it off and replace the new brine (1 tablespoon of salt to 12 ounces of water).
6. Leave the pickles for about 2 weeks. Check them for the degree of doneness. At this point they would be considered â€œhalf-sourâ€ or â€œyoungâ€, and are ready to eat. If you prefer a more intense flavor, you can let them ferment longer, up to a year. Top off the jars with more brine (1 tablespoon of salt to 12 ounces of water) Wipe off the rims and recap the jars tightly. Can or refrigerate the pickles to stop the fermentation process.