design-inspired urban farming
We had a great harvest of cucumbers this summer at the Sow Swell Urban Farm. We are always looking for ways to cook, prepare and keep our cucumbers to extend the flavor of summer. Pickling is the perfect way to not only extend the shelf life of our cucumbers, but also all of our peppers, peaches, figs, lemons, you name it! Pickle it! Plus this recipe is simple and makes for beautiful gifts and looks so pretty on the shelf.
This recipe and technique for preparing Dill Pickles comes from the folks at the Institute of Domestic Technology in Altadena, CA. Master Food Preservers and Instructors, Karen Hobert and Laurie Dill walked us through two methods for food preservation in jars.
The first is called cold pack (also known as raw pack) and is what we will be covering here. The cold pack method is where you put cold vegetables into hot brine. This method works well for vegetables that you’d like to remain crisp, like cucumber pickles. The second method which we will cover in another post, is called hot pack. Hot-packing is the practice of heating freshly prepared food to boiling, simmering it 2 to 5 minutes, and promptly filling jars loosely with the boiled food. This method helps eliminate air inside the jar and creates a vacuum seal.
Dill Pickles (recipe courtesy of The Institute of Domestic Technology)
Use this recipe for making small batches of about 3-4 pickles
6 tablespoons mustard seed
3 tablespoons whole allspice
6 teaspoons coriander seed
6 whole cloves
3 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons pickling spice (optional – see below)
3-4 Kirby or Persian cucumbers
Fresh dill – small bunch
3 cloves of garlic
16 oz. filtered water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Combine all of the pickling spice ingredients together. Wash a quart jar or pickle container with warm soapy water. Place filtered water and salt into jar. Cover and shake to dissolve salt.
Add garlic, dill and 2 tablespoons of pickling spice mixture to brine. Add cucumbers to jar so that they are submerged in the brine. Note, you should cut off and discard the flowering end of the cucumber. This the opposite of the stem side. The flowering side contains enzymes that will cause the cucumbers to go soft during fermentation.
Store where temperature is between 70°F – 80°F for about 3-4 days for half-sour pickles or 2-3 weeks for full sour pickles. Leave uncovered on the first day and then cover lightly for the remaining fermenting. You can use a towel or loosely screw on the lid. Temperatures of 55°F – 65°F are acceptable, but the fermentation will take 5-6 weeks. Avoid temperatures above 80°F or pickles will become too soft during fermentation. Fermenting pickles cure slowly.
Caution: If pickles become soft, slimy or develop a disagreeable odor, discard them immediately. Fully fermented pickles may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 4-6 months.