To make dill pickles, just soak some cucumbers and dill in vinegar and salt for a few weeks. Yup. Its that easy.
This kind of pickle is often called “open crock” because in old times, they were put in crocks, a thick ceramic container and left to sit out in cold dark spots until the pickles were done. The thick ceramic would help maintain a steady cool temp of the pickles. Now you can just put them in jars in the refrigerator.
For a wedding present, my sister gave us a 1 gallon crock. I decided this year was time to pull it out and activate my pickling scene.
Open Crock Pickles
(makes 1 gallon)
- 5 lbs pickling cukes (4-6 inches)
- 6 Tbs pickling spice
- 8 c. water
- 4 c. vinegar
- 6 Tbs kosher or sea salt
- 3 large dill stems with seeds -0r- 1/4 dried dill seed
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- 3 dried chillies
- 1 gallon crock or glass jar
Soak cucumbers in ice water for 1 hour. This washes the cucumbers as well as helps ensure crispiness.
Start filling your crock. Layer dill, 2 tbs of your pickling spice, a dried chili and 1-2 cloves of garlic on the bottom of your crock.
Layer on top of this 1/2 of your cucumbers. Top with second layer of dill and spices. Fill with last 1/2 of your cucumbers and top with remaining dill and spices.
Make your brine. Mix water, vinegar and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. I would normally use white vinegar or cider vinegar. However, I currently have a shit ton of red wine vinegar which I want to get rid of so I’m using this. It may give a slight pink color if I can them later, but it won’t be visible if they’re all eaten relatively soon.
Pour boiling brine over your full crock.
Weigh your pickles down. If you’re using a crock, find a plate which fits just over the top and weigh down with plates to keep cucumbers below the surface of your brine. If you’re using a jar, put the lid on it.
Store your pickles in a cool place for 2-3 weeks. You can put the crock in the fridge to brine, or you can also leave it out on the counter. As you can see above, I had some room in my fridge. My sister leaves her out on her kitchen counter all the time. Instead of a plate, she uses a clear plastic sheet draped over the top and weighed down with extra brine. This helps keep out bugs and scum.
So get out there and make some pickles!