Since my visit to Montreal, I’ve been left with a deep, deep hankering for pickles. Not just the commercial dills that you can buy at any supermarket, but the salty, pucker-inducing bite of a Jewish deli sour. While my husband preferred the half-sour to go with his smoked meat sandwich, I’m all about the full sour. Bring it on! So as I savored the last bite of the Schwartz’s Deli pickle that had made it’s way into my carry-on, I had an idea to try making my own.
So this weekend I made pickles. While you might picture me slaving over a hot canning bath, I didn’t. With these pickles, fermentation rules instead of heat and vinegar. The best part? They only took me about 15 or 20 minutes to make. Talk about a quickle! I haven’t tried them yet (I feel they haven’t reached full sour capability), but the recipe I used is from David Lebovitz so I’m sure I won’t be steered wrong. Though, I’m afraid I did lean a bit too heavy on the pickling spices – let’s hope that won’t ruin them!
UPDATE: So I finally tasted the pickles and while they taste good, the cut pickles were too soft. The pickles that I left whole were very crunchy and perfect. Perhaps the cut pickles should be eaten sooner and maybe only pickled for only 2-3 days instead of 5? If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!
sour dill pickles
(recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)
8 c water
3 T coarse kosher salt
8-10 Kirby pickling cukes, rinsed
4 cloves garlic, peeled & lightly crushed
1 T pickling spice
3 bay leaves
1 large bunch of dill (seed heads preferred)
1. In a large pot, heat the water with the salt until it dissolves.
2. Fill up your mason jars with boiling water and then dump the water into the sink. Alternatively, run them through the dishwasher if that’s what you got.
3. Tightly pack the pickles into jars. I left some pickles whole and others I quartered. Do what you like, just make sure that they are tight as you don’t want any pickles floating up above the brine line. Divide up the spices, garlic, bay leaves and dill amongst the jars.
4. Fill up the jars with the brine, making sure that all pickles are submerged. Cover with cheesecloth secured with rubber bands and leave them in a cool, dark place for 3 days. Taste (they’d be more like half-sours here, I would imagine) or let them go for a full 5 or 6 days for a full sour. Once they are to your liking, store them in the fridge. They should last for a month or so.