This is a recipe for classic kosher garlic dill pickles. A “kosher dill” doesn’t necessarily refer to kosher in the sense of Jewish dietary restrictions but rather that it is in the style of the early 20th century New York Jewish pickle makers… with kosher salt and a generous amount of garlic and dill.
- ~8-10 pickling cucumbers (to fill one 1/2-gallon jar or two quart jars)
- 4 cups clean or filtered water
- 2.5 to 3 TBSP Morton Canning Salt (or any non-iodized, additive-free salt); use 3 TBSP if you like salty pickles
- 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 8-10 sprigs fresh dill, base of stems can be removed
- 1 TBSP black peppercorns
- 1-2 tsp whole mustard seeds (1/2 black and 1/2 yellow is nice)
- 3-4 cloves
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 8-10 allspice berries
- 1-2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp Ball Pickle Crisp or equivalent product (pure calcium chloride) – note it will increase salt flavor, consider reducing salt to 2.25 – 2.5 TBSP if using Pickle Crisp)
- Crushed pepper flakes (or a few slices of jalapeno or other hot pepper)
1.) Make sure jar(s) and lid(s) are completely clean using warm soapy water then rinsed well.
2.) To make brine, dissolve salt in 2 cups warm water, then add 2 cups cold water plus the hard spices. Give a quick stir.
3.) OR instead of #2 for a stronger flavor: Mildly crush the spices in mortar & pestle, and add to a medium saucepan along with two cups water and the salt. Bring to a low boil, stirring until all the salt is dissolved. Add two cups cold water and wait, if needed, until brine returns to room temperature (this is very important). You can even chill this flavored brine in the fridge.
4.) Lightly wash the cucumbers and any other produce.
5.) Pack the cucumbers as tightly as possible (without bruising them). This is to avoid them rising to the surface. (A fermentation weight is strongly recommended; if weight is used, slightly less brine will go into the jar.)
6.) Add the garlic, bay leaf, and dill to the jar(s). Push down dill to keep from floating.
7.) If desired, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes (or sliced jalapeno).
8.) Pour spice-filled brine into the jar(s) until filled to about 1″ from the top. Add the weight and make sure that everything is submerged. If no weight is used, make sure everything is submerged and fill to about 3/4″ from the top. (If you don’t use all the brine, you can strain out any remaining hard spices and add them to the jar.)
9.) Apply a fermentation lid / airlock or alternately, you may simply use the lid which comes with the jar(s), but this needs to be “burped” (lid turned to release gas) every day for the duration of the ferment.
Store in cool, dark place like cupboard or pantry for 3-7 days.
Ferment for 3-4 days for half sours, and up to a week for full sours. 1-2 days produces a crispy, salty treat known as “new pickles.” Pickles will continue to ferment in the fridge if you prefer them even more sour. However, continuing to ferment at room temp isn’t recommended because the warm environment will promote mushiness.
Warmer temps usually result in a faster ferment. Also be careful of temperatures above 72, or temperature fluctuation, both of which can lead to softening. (I typically go ~6 days depending on ambient temps here in the South, but then allow to ferment for another week or more in the fridge, before finally opening. They may reside in my fridge for months, where the flavor keeps developing and acidifying.)
It is always recommended not to open jars when fermenting at room temperature just to avoid potential contamination. However, beginners trying to decide what they like can sample with little risk, as long as everything is returned to being fully submerged under the brine. When they reach your desired sourness or flavor, remove and discard the glass weight (optionally remove the dill leaves) then refrigerate.
Cloudiness of liquid and bubbles forming are normal, as well as sediment falling to the bottom. This is due to the fermentation process. Keep an eye out for surface mold and discard if this develops (fuzzy material in colors such as blue, green, brown, black, etc.). A waxy material called Kahm yeast can form at the surface and is harmless, but usually not ideal due to its flavor.
Although there is always a slight risk for mold development if small seeds and seasonings like peppercorns and coriander rise to the surface, this is hard to completely avoid. Use of tools like foodgrade mesh bags or products like the Pickle Pusher will eliminate these situations, but they are rare enough that those products may not be necessary.
Here is my demo video for making these sour dills:
CHECK OUT MY NEW VIDEO: TOP TEN WAYS TO MAKE THE CRUNCHIEST FERMENT PICKLES!!