Making Pickles

Several years ago when we lived in Seattle, I tried to make dill pickles.  They were awful!  The spice packet I bought had cloves in it and…yuck.  It wasn’t what I had imagined my dill pickles would taste like so I ended up throwing out the whole batch.

I’ve been a little reluctant to try again but with the bumper crop I’m getting this year, it’s a necessity.  I found this recipe on-line and I’ve added it at the bottom of the post.  I bought the book “Wild Fermentation” and was very pleased with the sauerkraut recipe from the book so I thought I’d give their Sour Pickle recipe a try.

This is the dill we harvested so I could use the seed for the pickles.

The seeds are pretty and in a bunch at the end of the individual stems.

It’s just a matter of rubbing the seeds together to get them off of the plant.

Here are all the ingredients the recipe calls for to make pickles.

Squish went out and picked the grape leaves for me.  The recipe also has other recommendations for leaves to use.  It’s the tannin in the leaves that’s necessary for this recipe.

Added the dill seed that we harvested…

pepper corn and whole garlic cloves…

cucumbers… some of these were picked a few days earlier so I “freshened” them in a bowl of cold water first.

sea salt in the water to make the brine…   (do you like the stain on my finger tips??  It’s from harvesting basil)

add the brine to the crock…

Make sure that the cucumbers are completely submerged in the brine by adding a plate to the top and weight to hold it down.

I have a wooden top for this crock but I’ll probably cover it with cheese cloth too.

So time will tell how good these will be …. I’ll let you know!

Timeframe: 1-4 weeks

Special Equipment:

  • Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket
  • Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
  • 1-gallon/4-liter jug filled with water, or other weight
  • Cloth cover

Ingredients (for 1 gallon/4 liters):

  • 3 to 4 pounds/1.5 to 2 kilograms unwaxed
  • cucumbers (small to medium size)
  • 3⁄8 cup (6 tablespoons)/90 milliliters sea salt
  • 3 to 4 heads fresh flowering dill, or 3 to 4
  • tablespoons/45 to 60 milliliters of any form of
  • dill (fresh or dried leaf or seeds)
  • 2 to 3 heads garlic, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh grape, cherry, oak, and/or
  • horseradish leaves (if available)
  • 1 pinch black peppercorns

Process:

  1. Rinse cucumbers, taking care to not bruise them, and making sure their blossoms are removed. Scrape off any remains at the blossom end. If you’re using cucumbers that aren’t fresh off the vine that day, soak them for a couple of hours in very cold water to freshen them.
  2. Dissolve sea salt in ½gallon (2 liters) of water to create brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
  3. 3. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it dill, garlic, fresh grape leaves, and a pinch of black peppercorns.
  4. Place cucumbers in the crock.
  5. Pour brine over the cucumbers,place the (clean) plate over them, then weigh it down with a jug filled with water or a boiled rock. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 tablespoon of salt to each cup of water.
  6. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
  7. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.
  8. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock every day.
  9. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.
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