David Lebovitz - living the sweet life in Paris
Kosher Dill Pickles
Adapted from Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking
Arthur advises making sure the cukes aren’t bitter before pickling them, so be sure to take a bite of one. In the US, at farmer’s markets, they often give samples first. If you live somewhere, like say, in Paris, you can do something similar to My Trader Joe’s Wine Test: Buy a bottle, take it out to the parking lot, open it, and take a swig. If it’s good, go back and buy a case.
I found the recipe made a bit more brine than I needed, but that’s probably because my cucumbers were different than what was advised in the recipe. Just for fun, I did one jar by splitting the cucumbers lengthwise and they worked great. It’s a good tip if you want your pickles in a hurry since that jar was ready after just days of fermenting.
4 quarts (scant 4l) water
6 tablespoons coarse white salt (kosher, if available)
18-20 Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly-crushed
2 tablespoons pickling spice (see links below)
6 bay leaves
1 large bunch of dill, preferably going to seed, washed
1. In a large pot, bring 1 qt (1l) water to a boil with the salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the remaining water.
2. Prepare three 1 quart (liter) wide jars by running them through the dishwasher or filling them with boiling water, then dumping it out.
3. Pack the cucumbers vertically into the jars, making sure they’re tightly-packed. As you fill the jars, divide the garlic, spices, bay leaves, and dill amongst them.
4. Fill the jars with brine so that the cucumbers are completely covered. Cover the jars with cheesecloth, secured with rubber bands, or loosely with the lids. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 days.
5. 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.
Arthur Schwartz Jewish Home Cooking cover
More pickle recipes and resources:
Common Pickle Problems (Troubleshooting advice for pickle-making)