Pickle It…seriously loving those pickles

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Is there anything better with a sandwich than a crunchy dill pickle? I don’t think so. I love the flavor of the dill, the spiciness of that fermented cucumber, and the great crunch when you take a bite!
I will gladly pass on the little sweet pickles…but I’ll take a dill any size, any day of the week.

Making your own Pickles is cool (as in cucumber) – you can make those fermented cukes as dill as you like and also as spicy. When I’m doing the fermenting, they are seriously spicy – but sometimes not so dill. If I choose to ferment them for a shorter period, I wind up with “New Dills” – and at my house, those are also a favorite. Often times, I will do two separate crocks, that way, my husband can have his “New Dills” and I get my spicy full fermented sours.

Pickles are easy to make and always a hit – you do want to take every precaution to avoid soggy pickles once they are ready for eating…which means picking out good quality pickling cukes that are free of blemishes and are firm. Once they are well rinsed, it is important to take a slice off at the flower end (not the stem side). If you are totally confused by which side to cut, you can always cut off both ends. A small slice off is sufficient, no need to take off a big slice. I like keeping the short stems on if possible, the pickles wind up being more visually interesting in the photos I take of the finished product.

Another note of caution: make sure to have enough liquid to keep your pickles submerged, as with all fermenting foods. The pickle juice is also great to drink (a great thirst quencher in the hot summer months) or to use in other recipes.

Additional fun begins when you think about all the interesting things you can put pickles on or how you can incorporate them into your meals – slices, dices, wedges, rounds, spears… so many options for these favorite crunchy ferments!

I have on occasion, developed actual meals around pickles, instead of focusing on the protein as the centerpiece. And recently, I gave a platter of pickles with a brand new serving dish to a pickle-loving friend as a gift.

Once you make your own Dills, I doubt you will ever buy another jar!

Pickles in crock waiting for the topping of fresh dill, brine, and weights!

Pickles in crock waiting for the topping of fresh dill, brine, and weights!


Here are pickles fermenting in Fido Jars

Here are pickles fermenting in Fido Jars

Pretty as a gift - choose a lovely platter and design your plate accordingly

Pretty as a gift – choose a lovely platter and design your plate accordingly

RMJ’s Fermented “Crock” Dills
Ingredients:
7-8 lbs. of 4-inch firm pickling cucumbers (about 20-22), washed well; and a sliced off section of the blossom side of the cucumber – leave stems attached on other side (up to ¼ inch). If you need more liquid – divide appropriately from original recipe, except for dill.
2 bunches fresh dill weed, washed and root ends trimmed
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
16 cups filtered water (I use my own well water)
14 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
10 dried red peppers (or fresh jalapenos halved to desired spice level)
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
4 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
Directions:
Place half of dill, garlic, peppers, and spices on bottom of a clean/sanitized crock. Add cucumbers, remaining dill, and all other garlic, peppers, and spices.
In a large nonreactive container, dissolve kosher salt in vinegar and water and pour over cucumbers, making sure the cucumbers are submerged. Add weights over the cucumbers and lid; add water to trough to air seal. Store in temperatures between 70° and 75° F for 10-11 days. Lower temperatures will involve more time. Avoid any temperature above 80° F. – you don’t want the cucumbers/pickles to become soft.
Check the crock several times during the 10-day period and promptly remove any white surface scum. When checking the crock – remove the water seal with a baster; once checked, replace top and refill the trough with filtered well water.
Safety Caution: If the pickles become strangely colored, too soft, slimy or have an off-smell, discard them!
Once pickles are at your desired dill-ness (we like them in between a full-dill and a little on the new-dill side) – remove from the crock and eat!
Storage:
Remove finished pickles from crock – fill into (preferably) glass containers and cover with strained fermenting liquid from the crock. Store in refrigerator.

4 Comments

  1. Sandy says:

    Sound delicious! Is there a way of making the pickles with just salt, water and spices?

    • RMJ says:

      Sure Sandy…you can ferment with whatever spices and herbs sound good to you….I love dill, so that is my preference. You can try your favorite preferences and make a recipe that suits your taste! Good luck — let us know what you come up with!!

  2. Sue says:

    Ruth, those pickles look so good. Are they too hard for a beginner? Could I try only a portion of the recipe to start? Do I need to find Fido jars? Thanks! Your photographs are stunning!

    • RMJ says:

      Sue – thanks for the post and the nice compliment…no the Pickles are super easy to do. Sure you can cut down the recipe proportionately. The big thing to remember – cut a slice off the flower end of each cucumber! ANd if you use Kosher Salt – use some that does not contain caking agents. Let me now how your batch comes out!!!

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