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Dill Pickles - The Old Fashioned Way

3 days ago I started my 1st batch of "real" Dill Pickles.

My recipe came Sandor Katz book "Wild Fermentation" ISBN 1-931498-23-7
No vinegar to create the sour, it comes naturally when you allow the pickles to ferment in a salt brine.
It was very easy,
I layered the bottom of my crock with oak leaves, then added fresh dill from my herb garden (I added more dill that his recipe called for - just because we love dill) I tossed in the garlic cloves and then about 5 lbs of cleaned baby pickles. (I also cut the blossom end off because I read somewhere that can contribute to the pickles going soft)
I dissolved the salt ( a little less than he called for) in filtered water. Poured it over the cucumbers, added a few more flowering dill heads and oak leaves, weighted it down to keep the cucs under the brine and covered the crock with a dish towel secured with a big rubber band.

Below is Sandor's recipe

Timeframe: 1-4 weeks

Special Equipment:

* Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket
* Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
* 1-gallon/4-liter jug filled with water, or other weight
* Cloth cover

Ingredients (for 1 gallon/4 liters):

* 3 to 4 pounds/1.5 to 2 kilograms unwaxed
* cucumbers (small to medium size)
* 3⁄8 cup (6 tablespoons)/90 milliliters sea salt
* 3 to 4 heads fresh flowering dill, or 3 to 4
* tablespoons/45 to 60 milliliters of any form of
* dill (fresh or dried leaf or seeds)
* 2 to 3 heads garlic, peeled
* 1 handful fresh grape, cherry, oak, and/or
* horseradish leaves (if available)
* 1 pinch black peppercorns


1. Rinse cucumbers, taking care to not bruise them, and making sure their blossoms are removed. Scrape off any remains at the blossom end. If you’re using cucumbers that aren’t fresh off the vine that day, soak them for a couple of hours in very cold water to freshen them.
2. Dissolve sea salt in ½gallon (2 liters) of water to create brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
3. 3. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it dill, garlic, fresh grape leaves, and a pinch of black peppercorns.
4. Place cucumbers in the crock.
5. Pour brine over the cucumbers,place the (clean) plate over them, then weigh it down with a jug filled with water or a boiled rock. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 tablespoon of salt to each cup of water.
6. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
7. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.
8. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock every day.
9. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.


Eastern European float a slice of sour dough rye on top to help attract the yeast.

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