When I was a kid growing up in Chicago, my mother would occasionally take my brother and I to a restaurant called The Pickle Barrel where every table had sour pickles and popcorn. I’m thinking the tables were made from old pickle barrels, but that may just be a fond enhancement of my memory. Having Russian/Ukrainian grandparents on one side of my family meant regular appearances by dill pickles for snacking as well. If you’ve never made your own, the first bite you take of your own homemade pickle will inevitably cause you to exclaim “oh my God, they taste just like pickles!” And they do. And deliciously so at that. You’ll find sour pickle recipe to be simple and the taste will be puckeringly pleasing.
It can be easy for these kosher pickles to become mushy and there are a few techniques to help prevent that from occurring. The primary technique is adding tannins through the addition of tannin-containing leaves such as oak, cherry, bay or other. According to Sandor Katz’ The Art of Fermentation, using unrefined sea salt can help because it can contain calcium and magnesium reinforce the cell walls. When I once received a lesson in making kimchi cucumbers, a korean woman taught to first pour steaming hot water over the cucumbers in order to kill off a microorganism which can lead to faster decomposition. I didn’t try that here, but if you encounter problems, that may help to resolve.This sour pickle recipe / dill pickle recipe comes from the FermentationForum community here at Fermentation Recipes. A contributor with the username of Butterflies contributed the bulk of this recipe but I’ve modified it some based on the forum contributions of others. Thank you all!
- Medium-sized non-waxed pickling cucumbers (for this recipe, I used 8 medium to large sized ones that fit in a 1 gallon jar.
- 2 Tablespoons Sea salt for each quart of water
- Spices including dill, mustard seeds, peppercorns. A tablespoon of each perhaps with more dill.
- 6 cloves garlic (peeled)
- A few tannin containing leaves - oak leaves, cherry leaves, bay leaves and grape leaves work well. You can also use a couple of black tea bags.
- Mix the brine - Add salt to water and stir to dissolve. Use 2 tablespoons of sea salt per quart of water
- Prepare cucumbers and place in the salted water - Clean lightly and cut off the stem tip of the cucumber. Place in a vessel for fermenting. For this recipe I used a 1 gallon Anchor Hocking cookie jar. I often use a fermentation crock like this one. Small batches can be done in [Ball Jars|http://amzn.to/2jcvfGY.
- Add the garlic, spices and leaves - To help the cucumbers stay crisp add a few fresh oak leaves, cherry leaves, bay leaves, grape leaves, or a little dry black tea. The tannin helps the pickles stay crisp.
- Keep the cucumbers submerged - It is important to make sure the pickles stay below the level of the liquid. A well scrubbed stone or a zip-lock bag filled with water will do. I personally used a ceramic bowl which had some weight to it but also floated due to the displacement. If doing small batches, you can buy weights such as these.
- Wait Impatiently - I place my jar in a sunny window as I understand that the uv rays help to keep some microorganisms from growing. If the container is clear you will be able to see bubbles forming after a day or two. Test after five days to see if it is sour enough for your taste. The speed of fermenting will vary depending on the temperature of your room. Mine were ready in a week, but feel free to let this go a few weeks if desired.
- Jar it up - Once the pickles are tangy enough for your tastes, transfer to smaller jars (including the brine) and store in the refrigerator. They will continue to ferment inthe refrigerator, but much more slowly. You can leave the pickles whole or cut them into spears or slices. They'll continue to sour more over time but should remain delicious. You can use some of the brine to jump-start your next ferment.
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