These are the easiest pickles, and they are utterly delicious. I have a lot of cucumbers growing, so I try to pick every day. There are always some hiding. For pickling you want to use smaller cukes. They stay firm better. I like them 3-5 inches, no ore than 6. I only grow the pickling cukes- those are the little grayish green warty ones; the Kirby types. You can use them for salad and gazpacho, so what else do you want? There are lots of fun cukes to grow, but I like to save seeds so I mostly grow one at a time.
OK, here is where I originally got the recipe. Thanks, Glora. I added something and I also can (groans) elaborate, since I do, snort, have a degree in English…..
Wash your cukes, trim off the blossom ends by about a 16th of an inch with a paring knife (removes possible bacteria),
and soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of ice water. They will feel crisper. Get a crock or big glass jar that will accommodate your pickles. Actually, get a pickle jar. Clean it well. On the bottom, put a 1 layer of 2 fresh grape leaves, 2 sprigs of dill, and 3 big garlic cloves. Trim the bottom end off of your garlic cloves. Pack in the cucumbers, then repeat the stuff you put on the bottom on the top, finishing with the grape leaves. You can find wild grapes everywhere. This is Vinland, after all. I have heard you can use cherry leaves, but haven’t tried it.
Mix water in the following proportions: 3 c. water, 2 tbsp vinegar*, 1 tbsp kosher salt. One two three. Fill your pickle jar to the top, put on the lid, and set outside for 4 days. One two three four. Little white flakes will form on top. You can skim this off or simply wash the top grape leaf. This is the old-fashioned lactic fermentation, same as kimchee and sauerkraut. It is really magical, and very good for you as well.
*A very important thing I need to add- do only use the nasty strong white vinegar from the store to acidify. When I used my homemade vinegar it wasn’t quite strong enough and the pickles spoiled partially. The vinegar is just to preserve it long enough for the right fermentation to create enough sourness to preserve the pickles. If I ever try it again with my vinegar, I will use more than the 2 tbs. This recipe is super easy but it’s certainly not the only one around.
After 4 days I put them in the fridge to cool. They will get more sour over time and eventually you will start getting soft ones. They still taste fantastic, and you can use the brine to inoculate and speed up other batches.
The grape leaves were my addition. They help the pickles stay crisp. Who needs pickling lime!
I fill the fridge with these. I really need a cold European cellar and some barrels. They are so addictive. I am going to go make some right now!