This method is better than buying pickles from the grocery store and they will last a long time in the jar, but it is not as good as the old-fashioned fermenting in brine. I do fine without the pasteurizing which kills the enzymes and fermented foods provides probiotics.
When I was a child and living in Texas, I loved the big sour pickles you could buy. When I moved to Ohio, I could no longer find any pickles which were what I knew as “real” sour pickles. For many years, I thought this was just a location thing. After I made my own fermented pickles, I realized it was the mass marketing of unfermented pickles which was responsible for my not getting real sour pickles.
Below is a recipe I use to make what I call real sour pickles. Fresh picked cucumbers will ferment and stay crisp, whereas older ones can soften. I prefer a glass crock to easily watch the process.
When fermenting any vegetable, always keep them submerged. The layer of brine above them protects from any spoilage.
More or less garlic or dill can be added, and many other herbs (or vegetables) can be added.
SOUR (DILL) PICKLES IN A CROCK
•Glass or 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
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)- these keep pickles crisp
•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.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.
I have nerve damage in my hands and can no longer do any of my grandmother’s canning. She made the BEST sour pickles and I remember sticking my hand through scum as a child to grab a pickle from a glass jar in her cellar. They were SO good. I am now looking to buy fermented pickles and am coming up only with recipes. I have her recipe but need a source for purchasing. Does anyone know of a site selling crocked pickles? I saw Old Fashioned Brine Pickles on an Amish site but don’t know if they are the same. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!