I love pickles - always have, always will. I grew up with homemade dills and would, and do, eat half sours at any opportunity. I don't know where my love for them came from and really, why would I question it? Everyone has their favorite seasoning combo for pickles. I've stayed pretty true to my family's recipe but have decreased the salt & left out the bell pepper my grandmother used.
- It's important to use fresh cucumbers, so plan on putting these up as soon as you bring the cukes home (or in from the garden).
- I've found that I can only fit about 4 Kirby's in a jar while still leaving enough room at the top. If you're able to get consistently petite cukes, you might be able to fit more.
- This recipe is based on a ratio of 3 Tbsp salt to 1 quart water.
- The leaves mentioned below will help to keep the pickles crisp. My grandmother never used them and I don't either, mostly because I don't have ready access to them. I think they'd be worth trying.
Pickling Cukes (approx 4 per jar)
Fresh Dill Sprigs (2 per jar)
Garlic Cloves, peeled (1 per jar)
Jalapeños (1/4 to 1/2 per jar depending on how big the pepper is)
Black Peppercorns (about 12 per jar)
Kosher salt or Sea salt (just not iodized salt)
Fresh grape or horseradish leaves, if you have access to them (1 per jar)
Squeaky clean quart-sized mason jars & lids
A larger container for making the brine - I use a 1/2 gallon mason jar with a lid
- Trim any stem or blossom bits from the ends of the cukes - very important - and rinse them well.
- Put all the cukes in an ice water bath to perk up while you're prepping everything else.
- Mix up a brine solution. If you're using a 1/2 gallon jar, combine 6 Tbsp salt with 2 qts. chlorine-free water. Close the jar & shake vigorously to dissolve the salt.
- In each quart jar place the dill, garlic, jalapeño, peppercorns and leaves, if using.
- Then pack each jar with the cukes, making sure to leave about 1 inch of space at the top.
- Fill each jar with the brine, making sure the Kirby's are covered and there's still some room left at the top. You may need to make some more brine, depending on how many jars you're putting up.
- Put lids on the jars and seal well. Store them in a relatively cool place, like a basement, or root cellar if you're lucky enough to have one.
- After about 1 week they'll start to qualify as dills and by four weeks they should be fully fermented. It will depend on how warm it is. You can taste them any time in that window. Once you open a jar, though, transfer it to the fridge.
- You can also transfer unopened jars to the fridge once you've deemed them sufficiently fermented. This will slow the process down. When I was growing up, we stored them in our basement until we wanted to open a jar, which means that most of the jars would be down there for months. Many people, though, prefer to refrigerate unopened jars.