Short-brined dill pickles

Any pickling endeavour would not be complete without making honest-to-goodness dill pickles–not to mention the fact that they are a particular favourite of David’s. This recipe was straightforward to execute, but we had to wait one month before we could sample our efforts.

Recipe

from The Joy of Pickling
Makes 1 quart

2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 peppercorns
1 dried hot pepper, such as japonés or de arbol, slit lengthwise
2 pickling cucumbers (3- to 5″), blossom ends removed
1 cup cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
2-3 dill heads
1-1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp pickling salt

Brine

1.5 tbsp pickling salt
4 cups water

Halve or quarter the cucumbers lengthwise. To make the brine, in a large bowl, dissolve salt in the water and add the cucumbers. Weigh them with a heavy plate that just fits inside the container. Let them stand in the brine at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Drain the cucumbers. If you like less salty pickles, rinse the cucumbers and drain them well again.

Bring to a boil the salt, water, vinegar and sugar. While the mixture heats, drop garlic, peppercorns and the hot pepper into a quart jar. Pack the cucumbers into the jar along with the dill heads and pour over the cucumbers the hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Close the jar with a two-piece cap and process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes (10 minutes if you’re using pint jars). Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry place for at least a month before eating the pickles. After opening, store it in the refrigerator.

Musings

David declared our initial effort to be delicious. Not as briny as he expected, and the cucumber flavour was stronger than he’d ever had in a pickle. We’d made some jars with more garlic and some with more peppers. David happened to first sample a garlicky jar. The pickles had a touch of spiciness, but a nice full-bodied garlic flavour. The pickles were fresh-tasting, which he thinks is the contribution of the cucumber. We made several jars worth of dill pickles, so we’ll leave a few jars for another few weeks to see how the flavour develops as it ages.

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