Pickling is an ancient way to preserve the peak of summer’s veggies (and
fruits, if you dare). Enjoy classic sour pickles with this basic recipe.
• 12 pounds small unwaxed pickling cucumbers
• 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt
• 1 or 2 heads of flowering dill (or 12 tablespoons of any form – fresh, dried leaf, or seeds)
• 1 or 2 heads of garlic, peeled
• 1 small handful of fresh grape, cherry, oak, and/or horseradish leaves (if available)
• 1 pinch black peppercorns
1. Rinse cucumbers, taking care not to bruise them and making sure their blossoms are removed. Scrape off any remains at the blossom ends. If you’re using cucumbers that aren’t fresh off the vine that day, soak them for a couple of hours in cold water to freshen them.
2. Dissolve sea salt in ½ gallon of water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
3. Clean the jar or crock, then place the dill, garlic, fresh grape leaves, and a pinch of peppercorns at the bottom.
4. Place cucumbers in the vessel (packing them tightly will help them remain submerged under the brine). Pour brine over the cucumbers.
5. Loosely seal the jar with its lid. If using a crock, cover with a cloth to keep out dust.
Leave them until the color of the cucumbers changes from bright green to a duller olive green. Then, taste every 12 days.
6. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check them regularly. If they start to get too soft, or you don’t want them to be too sour, move them to the fridge
Contributed by Liz Rueven