How to Make Pickles: A PrimerPosted on May 29, 2011 | 20 comments
Ever wondered how to make pickles? It’s easy. Making homemade pickles has been on my to do list for some time now. I’m a little behind the times; pickling everything has been a trend that’s come and probably gone and I’ve eaten more pickled foods than I have time to list here. From pickled watermelon rind (my favorite) to pickled fiddlehead ferns, chefs have found that a little bit of something pickled adds nice acidity to almost any dish. I decided for my first home pickling project, I should start with traditional pickled cucumbers.
I used a recipe from David Lebovitz as a starting point, omitted the dill and added spices I had on hand like whole sumac to add some local flavor. To make dill pickles, simply add a big bunch of dill to the mix. I also threw in a carrot I had, just for fun. This pickle recipe takes about 5 minutes of hands on time and three days to ferment in a cool, dark place. After that they need to be refrigerated and will keep for about 1 week. If they last that long. But then you have delicious, crispy pickles, perfect for a barbecue or to eat right out of the fridge. You’ll never buy a supermarket bottle again. And here you have it, how to make pickles.
2 – 2½ cups bottled or filtered water (for a jar that holds 4½ cups liquid, or a little over 1 quart)
2 tablespoons coarse salt
7 small-medium cucumbers
1 carrot (optional)
4-8 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
½ teaspoon whole allspice berries
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
¼ teaspoon whole sumac
In a small pot heat ½ cup of the water with the salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the remaining water. Pack the cucumbers vertically into the jar, making sure they’re tightly-packed. Add the garlic, bay leaves, mustard seeds, allspice berries, cloves, and sumac. Pour the salt water brine over so it comes to the top of the jar; the cucumbers should be fully submerged. Cover the jar and store in a cool, dark place (do not refrigerate). After 3 days, taste one. The pickles can ferment from 3 to 6 days. The longer the fermentation, the more sour they’ll become. Once the pickles are to your liking, refrigerate them.