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Lacto-fermented "Kosher" Dill Pickles

The so-called "kosher" pickle is not necessarily kosher in the sense that it complies with Jewish food laws. It is called kosher because of its flavor profile made popular by New York’s Jewish pickle makers, known for their natural salt-brined pickles heavily seasoned with dill and garlic. So any pickle that is seasoned in the same fashion is referred to as a kosher dill.


Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 quarts chlorine-free water
  • 4-6 grape, oak, or horseradish leaves
  • 6-9 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 large heads of dill
  • Spices to taste: black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, etc. (Secret ingredient: for an extra bite, add a few strips of fresh horseradish to the spice mix!)
  • Enough pickling cucumbers to fill a ½-gallon jar


Instructions:

  1. Make a brine by dissolving 5 tablespoons sea salt in 2 quarts of chlorine-free water. 
  2. In a half-gallon jar add a couple of the tannin-containing leaves, a few cloves of garlic, the heads of dill, and ⅓ of the spices.
  3. Pack half of the cucumbers tightly on top of the spices. (The longest ones work best at the bottom.) 
  4. Repeat a layer of leaves, garlic, and spices. Add another tightly packed layer of cucumbers and top them off with more garlic and spices.
  5. Pour the brine over the pickles, leaving 1-2 inches of headspace. Place another tannin-containing leaf on top of the pickles as a cover between the pickles and the surface of the brine. Use a fermentation weight to keep the pickles under the liquid, if necessary. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  6. Ferment at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure. The brine should turn cloudy and bubbly, and the pickles should taste sour when done.
  7. Eat right away, or store in a refrigerator or root cellar for months and enjoy them all winter long.


Makes one ½-gallon jar of pickles.

 

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Bowl of pickles with fresh dill fronds on plain wooden table


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