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Cucumber Dill Pickles
2 lbs. small pickling cucumbers
1 quart water
3 level Tablespoons sea salt
7 cloves of garlic peeled
1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns
5 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds
16 small dried red peppers
½ gallon jar
3 umbels of dried dill
5 fresh grape leaves
- Heat the water and sea salt lightly until the salt dissolves and let cool to room temperature.
- Wash the cucumbers and drain.
- Wash the grape leaves and pinch off the stem, also pinching off a little of the leaf where it joins the stem, as this holds dirt.
- Place the grape leaves in the bottom of the jar. They will also stick to the sides of the jar if they are a little wet.
- Pack the cucumbers tightly in the jar standing them vertically.
- Distribute the other ingredients as the cucumbers are added to the jar.
- Poor the brine over the ingredients enough to cover the cucumber tops. The tops of the cucumbers must be covered in brine to prevent spoilage.
- Place a piece of cheesecloth over the jar and secure with a rubber band.
- Let sit at room temperature for 3-5 days. Lactic acid fermentation speeds up in warmer temperatures and slows down in cooler temperatures. You will know when fermentation is active when a few small bubbles begin to appear in the jar and it starts to smell a little sour.
- Place the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator. The dill pickles will still ferment very slowly in the refrigerator, but will keep for months, unless of course they get eaten sooner.
Makes 2 quarts or ½ gallon dill pickles. The proportion of salt is 3 Tablespoons sea salt to 1 quart of water. To measure how much salt water is needed to make your dill pickles, you can pack your jar with cucumbers and then fill the jar with water. Pour off the water into a measuring cup and you will know exactly how much brine to make.
The grape leaves are optional, but the tannins in the leaves make the pickles crispier. If you do not have access to grapes, wild grapes are plentiful and may be used as well. Select newer growth leaves that are more tender.
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