Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Kosher Dills- Fermentation at its best!

This is the simplest way to make pickles- salt, water, garlic, dill and a surprise ingredient- black tea.  These sour or Kosher pickles are classics.  I have been making these for years- sometimes just cukes, other times, I add onions, thin carrots, cauliflower, peppers.  Consider green beans or turnips.  Always lots of garlic!

Sandor Katz, my fermentation guru, suggests adding black tea for its tannin.  This should help keep the pickles crunchy.  I will let you know in a month.

You will need a large crock, a large food grade bucket or a two litre jar- as long as it is "food grade" and  squeaky clean.

On the right- cukes, carrots and small onions in 2L jars.  One of the jars is  topped with my latest great tool- the airlock from Fermentation Creation.  Perfect and easy to use with mason jars.

On the left- just cukes in my beautiful crock.  I also use it to ferment sauerkraut and kimchi.

Both jars have lots of garlic and fresh dill.


Kirby cucumbers- about three-four inches long and fresh as possible.  I buy mine at the farmers' market the  morning I plan to pull it all together

Spring water- tap water usually contains chemicals that will interfere with fermentation.  You will make your brine in the following ratio:  about six tablespoons of kosher salt to one litre of water.

Kosher salt- table salt contains chemicals so please user kosher salt.

A handful of fresh dill

One garlic bulb- you don't need to peel it, just cut it in half crosswise and add to the crock.

Black tea- one tea bag to help keep the pickles crisp.  You could also add clean cherry, grape or oak leaves but I just never have any around.


Fill your sink with cold water and add your cukes.  Gently scrub to remove dirt and the little black spikes and make sure to remove the blossom end of the cuke.

Mix your spring water and salt in a large bowl or measuring cup.  Place your garlic, dill and cukes in the crock or jar.  Add your brine.  You have to make sure everything remains under the brine.  I fill a freezer bag with brine and place on top.  Then add the lid to the crock or cover with cheesecloth.  See the pictures above.

Every day, check for a white film/scum which you will remove (and clean the plastic bag).  Store your crock away from direct sun light.  I keep mine on the kitchen counter to remind me to check my dills every day.  After about one week, check your pickles by cutting in half to see if they are ready.  It depends on the room temperature.  When they are ready, place them in the refrigerator to slow fermentation.

You could pack your pickles in clean canning jars, make a batch of fresh brine, heat it to boiling.  Top up the pickles and cap.  Process for approximately 15 minutes for one litre jars.

However, you will lose the benefit of the probiotics from the fermentation process.  They will keep in the fridge for about six months and that is what I do.

** Feel free to add small, fresh carrots, onions, beans, turnip.  I was eyeing the turnips at the produce store this week.  That will be a fall project!


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