How to Make Dill Pickles

Friday March 27, 2015 Written by Lentil

Fermented pickles taste awesome. They are also awesome for your digestion. When winter arrives and you have no more fresh cucumbers, you’ll be glad you did this.

It’s not an exact science. Vary the recipe with whatever herbs, spices and levels of garlic you love. Tarragon pickles are wonderful. A hint of chili goes great too.

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What you need:

400 ml water
20 grams of salt 
600 grams whole, small-to-medium cucumbers 
A 1 litre jar 
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp coriander 
1 clove garlic (cut in half, unpeeled) 
1 tsp pepper corns 
2 dill flowers 
A napkin or tea towel (a small cloth, basically) 
A rubber band/twine 
A plate

Method: 

To make the pickling brine, combine 20 grams of salt into 400 ml of water, making sure all the salt is dissolved.

Put all the spices in the jar, then stuff your whole cucumbers in. They should be nice and snug.

Pour the brine over the cucumbers, filling the jar to the brim. Make sure all the cucumbers are kept below the surface of the brine, otherwise the exposed parts will become soft or mouldy.

Sit a lid over the top of the jar, but do not tighten. Place small cloth over the top of your jar and fasten with a rubber band/twine.

Sit the jar on a plate (during the fermenting time, liquid will spill over the lip of the jar).

Leave your pickles to sit for five days to a week at normal room temperature. After this time the cucumbers should have turned from a bright green to a nice olive green. If you’re happy with how they have fermented, put them in the fridge. You may see a fine, white mould form on the surface – this is fine. Just wash it off before putting your pickles in the fridge. But you shouldn’t see any colourful or black mould. The pickles should smell good. They should taste crunchy. If you think they need more fermenting, leave them out for a few more days.

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Brine notes:

Pickling brine is just salt dissolved in water, at a ratio of five per cent salt to the volume of water. It is very important that you use non-chlorinated water, as chlorine is an anti-bacterial that will stop all the wonderful lactic-acid producing bacteria from doing their thing.

Shelf life:

When kept in the fridge, pickles have a very long shelf life – years and years and years.

NB: This recipe is based on a summer climate. Fermenting times will vary based on the season/climate, and generally take longer the colder it is.

Lentil and Matt Purbrick are Grown & Gathered: a self-sustainable farm in Victoria. This recipe originally appeared on their website. It will make you want to pack up and move to the country.