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Sour Dill Pickles

  • Pickling cucumbers to fill suitable ceramic, glass or plastic crock (5#)
  • Grape leaves
  • Fresh or Dry Dill, Garlic, Chilies, Black Pepper, Mustard Seed, etc.
  • 6T Kosher Salt
  • 2 Quarts Water

Try to find cucumbers that are uniform in size and firm — you don’t want to make pickles with old, floppy cucumbers.  Clean cucumbers and cut 1/4″ off the blossom end and fill crock along with the fresh grape leaves.  I put the crock on it’s side and layer the cucumbers and leaves until full.  Add salt to a small sauce pan with half of the water and spices – use as much as you like.  We like really dilly-spicy-garlicy pickles here.  Bring to a boil and then turn off and let cool – add second quart of water to help cool it down.  Once it has reached room temperature poor brine over pickles.  If there isn’t enough brine to cover the pickles, make more with 1T salt per cup of water.

Put a plate or other weight over the top of the pickles to hold them down and cover the crock with a clean dishcloth and put it in the corner.  In a couple of days, skim any mold or scum from the surface of the crock.  If there is mold forming, do your best to clean it out.  Continue to skim the pickles every day.  Depending on the temperature and the amount of salt used in the brine and how sour you want your pickles it make take anywhere from one to four weeks for the pickles to be ready.  Just pull one out with a fork and test it.  Once they taste good, transfer to quart mason jars, cover with brine and move to the fridge.

Here’s what a NORMAL batch looks like, the white bloom is a good sign!

Here’s my current batch after a week – the brine hasn’t reached all the way in yet, they taste good but aren’t sour enough.

If the pickles taste bad, don’t eat them.  If they are mushy or rotten, don’t eat them.  It is normal for the brine to be a little viscous but it shouldn’t be thick or snotty (although some of this is pretty normal – it has to do with other bacterias that may be present in the ferment, it doesn’t mean it is bad, but in my experience lacto-fermented foods that end up snotty don’t have the bright and sharp flavor that makes them so good in the first place.)

Technique and instructions taken liberally from Wild Fermentation.

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