These are not only the best pickles I've made yet, but they rival my memories of "Lower East Side Kosher Garlic Dill Pickles".
Get yourself a good pickling crock. I use a 7.5l Harsch. You may also want to invest in a little kitchen scale, since weight measures are more accurate than by volume. Here, then is the recipe.
- ~7 lbs. of fresh pickling cucumbers (or kirbies)
- 10 large cloves of garlic
- 5 grape leaves
- 1 bunch of fresh dill.
- 5 l of water (boiled, then cooled)
- 175 g salt (35 g/liter) This is the summer recipe. You can reduce the salt to say 30 g/l during cooler months). Be sure to use "pickling salt" which is salt pure and simple, containing no iodine and no anti-caking agent. In the past I had used "coarse kosher salt" but this contains anti-caking. Table salt also normally contains iodine. Apparently both have a deleterious effect on fermentation.
- 15 g mustard seed
- 10 g black peppercorns
- 10 g coriander seeds
- 5 g red pepper seeds
- 4 bay leaves
After about a month they're ready! You can harvest a jar's worth to keep in the fridge as needed, and leave the rest to continue fermenting. Note, these are fermented brine pickles-no vinegar. The grape leaves apparently help preserve the firmness of the pickle skin. So also does snipping the flower end off. Another suggestion I've heard, also to preserve the skin's firmness, though haven't tried it, is to not add the garlic until a week or two before the first harvesting. I've heard that 3 months is needed for a full sour, but mine were great at about 5 weeks (perhaps they'll need longer in cooler months).