Transported in the hearts and minds of the huddled masses from the Old World to the New - Kosher, deli-style dill pickles are a New York icon. There is nothing quite like the taste and the crunch of a good dill pickle.
2 lbs (1 kg near enough) of small cucumbers
3 grape leaves
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
Handful of fresh dill leaf, chopped
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
Brine to fill, 3 scant tsp (13 g) kosher salt per cup (250 mL) of filtered water (Himalayan salt, my preferred salt, is kosher). This gives a brine near enough 5%, recommended for a dill pickle ferment.
Place the grape leaves in a clean airlock jar, then add the dill, mustard seed and garlic. Tightly pack the jar with the cucumbers, get as many as you can in there! Top with brine and weigh down if possible.
We use an airlock jar here because pickles will mould easily, or at least develop kahm yeast in ferments open to the air. If you want a quick turn around pickle, use the vinegar/sugar/spice method of pickling. If you want a traditional dill pickle, the kind called 'half-sours' will be ready in 3 weeks or so, and the full sours will take at least 6 weeks.
That's right Mr Pickleface - 6 weeks!
Intuition and experience would lead us to suspect the little cucumbers would turn to mush after weeks in the brine, but that is what the grape leaves are for. Tannins from the leaves are expressed early in the ferment, and this works to toughen the skins of the cucumbers. If grape leaves are not available, any other non-toxic leaf that is high in tannins will do. This will vary depending on where you are in the world.
Try these with dark rye toast, smoked meat, other cured meats, and of course sauerkraut on the side!
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