pickles in brineThe pickle cucumber season is coming to an end. I’m so sad since I feel I didn’t make enough this year. I was really disappointed that I couldn’t find the right flower dill for a while. That is until my friend discovered one farm that was going to bring it to Eastern Market.  I could finally get ready my pickles. It was quite an expensive investment so luckily you only make them once a year.

I combined the flower dill with regular green dill but I would never want to use just the green dill.
I’m not sure what the theory is behind it but this is how my grandmother and my mother have been doing them, and there are some rules that you just follow without asking.
Just like with the recipe for New Sour Pickles (malosolne) you need to make sure that you pick cucumbers that are small and hard. The recipe for the brine is the same but the way of storing and finishing is a little different.
You can try eating them after two weeks, but the longer you keep them in your basement the more pickled they become. And in the fall and winter time use them for salads or soup.
The most difficult part I faced was not only finding the right dill but also fresh root of horseradish (I finally found at Harris Teeter).  I had another problem finding leaves of sour cherry tree or oak tree. They add this unique additional hint of flavor. But since I couldn’t find them anywhere I went without them. The pickles are still fine and my mother told me that she sometimes doesn’t use them if she can’t find them. So as long as you can get the dill and horseradish right, your pickles will be still fine.

20 lb of small cucumbers
10 sprigs of flower dill and a bundle of green dill
1 head of garlic
fresh horseradish root, peeled and cut into 2 inch strips
1 ½ tablespoon of table salt for 1 Quart of water
14 quart size Mason jars (preferably wide mouth)

Clean the cucumbers and soak them in ice cold water for couple of minutes.
In the meantime clean the jars and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Clean your jars with soap and hot water or put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 220F.
In the meantime boil a big pot of water, and add 1 ½ tablespoons of salt for each quart of water.
Once the jars cool down, put the flower dill on the bottom of each jar, and add one clove of garlic and one strip of horseradish.
Start putting the cucumbers in the jars with the stem end towards the top of the jar. Put them really tight so they won’t float. Put some more dill on the top and one more clove of garlic. Depending on how spicy you like your brine you can add one more strip of horseradish.
Now pour some water with the dissolved salt over the cucumber. The water can be warm or cold by now. Close the jars with the lid tight and you can pasteurize them if you wish.
Sometimes I do it but if I cleaned the jars by baking them in the oven and I used warmer water to pour over the cucumbers then I don’t pasteurize them. They will seal well because of the warm water. But if you want to pasteurize them prepare a big pot with warm water and put a kitchen towel at the bottom. Transfer the jars with pickles, with lids on tight and bring the water to boil. Once you see that the water starts boiling, turn it off and take the jars out. You don’t want to boil the pickles.
Keep the pickles upside down for couple of minutes and then flip them back and let them cool down. Make sure the lid is tight and let the pickles sit in a warm place for couple of days and then keep them in dark room, preferably a basement.
There may be some leaking happening during the first few weeks but this is normal.


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