I know I’ve talked here about foods I crave that aren’t quite right in my adopted country, and pickles top that list! British gherkins just don’t do it for me- they are too sweet and multi-flavoured. When I say I crave pickles, I really mean it- I am known in my family for saving the jar and drinking the pickle juice! There is nothing better than a nice, crisp and juicy kosher dill pickle. Actually, one of my favourite childhood ‘trips’ was to go to the supermarket with my dad and pick the pickle from the barrel (but I did not pick a peck of pickled peppers, just to set the record straight).
After reading around, I learned that some pickles are made with vinegar while others are pickled by letting the juice ferment a bit. Apparently, Polish pickles are fermented. This explains why they looked similar to what I expected from a pickle based on looks (the standard jar of British pickled cucumbers has many extra spices floating around), but it did not taste the same.
Some of the dill pickle recipes I came across online had ‘pickling seasonings’ in the ingredients. Unnamed, mixed spices always make me nervous when purchasing them outside of the area in which the writer purchased them- you never know how different each culture or nation’s take on the mixture will be from the intended flavour. Checking into the ingredients of pickling spices, I decided to skip them for my first attempt because some of the flavours evoke sweetness (like cloves) for me, something I wanted to avoid.
In the end, I used a modified version of this recipe and it was fantastic! Thanks to Sharon Howard for submitting it! Since the recipe was a canning recipe intended to cure for 8 weeks before consumption, and I don’t have any canning jars, I doubled the spices and used the following modified recipe.
Brined Dill Pickles
Using 4 medium cucumbers, it was exactly 2 Lbs and the jar is 1.5 litres. I had a bit of vinegar juice left over, but that’s fine.
Before beginning: soak the cut cucumbers in ice water for at least two hours. This increases crispness.
- 6 C water
- 2 C apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 C salt (make sure it has not been iodized or had anything added)
- Start on medium heat, stirring these ingredients together and bring to a rapid boil. This is your brine.
- Sterilise the jar well.
- Add four half cloves of garlic (original recipe calls for 2), crushed and then cut in half, to bottom of jar.
- Add one head of dill to bottom of jar
- Pack in the pickles, add the brine
- Add 2 more crushed & chopped half-cloves and another large cluster of dill.
- Put the lid on and pop them in your fridge. Resist the urge to eat them for four days!
When these have been gobbled up, make a batch of ‘refrigerator pickles’. Reuse this brine by thinly slicing cucumbers and placing them in jar. Let them sit for 4-5 days and they will have soaked up enough flavour to be ‘lightly flavoured’ pickles!