I grew up in a savory snack household. Give me salami, olives and pickles over any kind of sweet treat. Ever since Costco started carrying those petit cucumbers my dad has set out to master the homemade pickle. He tried garlic and lemon and various herbs, but today when he arrived at our house for a barbecue he proudly presented his tastiest variety – the simple dill pickle.
Here’s his recipe.
Simple dill pickles
- 2 lbs. pickling cucumbers (2 packs of mini-cucumbers from Costco). Leave whole or slice in half lengthwise. Cut off any stem remnants and check each cucumber for spoiled ends. If any, cut them off.
- 3/8 c. Kosher salt (not iodized)
- 2 quarts water
- ½ c. white vinegar
- ¼ c. whole dill seed
- ¼ c. whole mustard seed
- 8-10 whole coriander seeds (optional)
- 6-8 whole allspice seed (optional)
- 6 bay leaves
- ½ tsp alum – essential for crunchiness: the alum adds no flavor
1. Fill sink with cold water, enough to cover cucumbers. Add 1 tbsp Clorox or Iodophor (to kill any yeast on the cucumbers, which would cause them to spoil). Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly in cold water until you cannot smell any Clorox or Iodophor.
2. Pack a large jar or plastic container with the cucumbers.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, etc. mixture to a boil and simmer briskly for 15 minutes over low-medium heat to extract flavors.
4. When the pickling solution is cool, pour it all into the container of cucumbers. Scrape any solids left in the bottom of the saucepan into the container (seeds, etc.), including the bay leaves. If the brine overflows the container, that’s fine.
5. Leave at room temperature for one or two days. When the pickles taste right, refrigerate them. They will last for 3-4 weeks