To be eaten casually with your hands (never with a fork) before a meal.
Type of Fermentation
3 days to 3 weeks
- Two 1-quart glass jars
- Airlocks (optional)
- 2 lbs 3 oz pickling cucumbers (new and crunchy is always better than old and wizened)
- 6 cups cold water
- 3 cups ice cubes
- 2 grape leaves, fresh, new, frozen or lactofermented (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
5% Sweet Brine:
- 8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 cups water, at room temperature
1. Place cucumbers in cold water with ice cubes in a large bowl and let soak for 4 to 8 hours. (This will keep them crunchy until after fermentation.)
2. Prepare brine by dissolving salt and sugar in water.
3. Pack cucumbers into jars (either whole or sliced, as you prefer).
4. Divide grape leaves (if using), garlic, dill, peppercorns, caraway seeds and cumin between the jars. Cover with brine.
5. Close jars and set airlocks. Alternatively, screw lids on jars tightly, but let pressure escape once a day for the first 3 days by unscrewing the rings slightly for a few seconds, then resealing airtight.
6. Let ferment at 64°F to 77°F for 3 days for “new cucumbers,” 7 days for “half sours” or 3 weeks for classic pickles.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or, to preserve cucumbers for 2 years at room temperature, make preserves by boiling the filled jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. (You can do this with many jarred foods, though it will upset millions of bacteria. With pickles, it’s allowed because tradition dictates it.)