These really are the ultimate pickles. When winter arrives and you have no more fresh cucumbers, you’ll be glad you did this.
When it comes to pickles – we reckon these guys are the undisputed kings. It's all about the fermentation. After 7 days 'in the barrel' the real pickle taste will stop you ever buying pre-made pickles again. Plus they are awesome for your digestion! That's the things about really good traditional foods – they not only blow the packaged stuff out of the water, they are actually good for you.
Vary the recipe with whatever herbs, spices and level of garlic you love. Try tarragon instead of dill or adding a hint of chilli. Have a play!
400mL pickling brine (see note below)
600g whole, small to medium cucumbers
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 clove garlic (cut in half, unpeeled)
1 tsp pepper corns
2 dill flowers
1 ltr jar
Napkin or tea towel (some form of small cloth)
A pickling brine is simply a solution of salt dissolved in water. Salty water. The amount of salt needs to be 5% of the water volume. So to make 400mL brine you need to dissolve 20g of salt. It is very important that you use non-chlorinated water, as chlorine is an anti-bacterial so will stop all those wonderful lactic-acid producing bacteria from doing their thing. Rainwater or spring water is best. We always use unrefined sea salt to make our brines. We think it not only tastes the best but keeps the pickles extra crisp!
• Combine the water and salt to make up your 5% pickling brine (make sure all that salt is dissolved).
• Put all the spices in the jar then stuff your whole cucumbers in there too so that they are nice and snug.
• Pour your brine over the cucumbers, filling the jar to the brim. Make sure all the cucumbers are kept below the surface of the brine. This is a key step! Otherwise the exposed parts will become soft or mouldy.
• Sit a lid over the top of the jar, but do not tighten. Place small cloth over the top of your jar and fasten with a rubber band/twine.
• Sit the jar on a plate (during the fermenting time, liquid will spill over the lip of the jar).
• Leave your pickles to sit for 5-7 days at normal room temperature - after this time cucumbers should have turned from a bright green to a nice olive green. If you’re happy with how they have fermented, put them in the fridge.
• If you want them last the longest and stay the crispest, drain the pickles from the pickling brine (which can be reused for the next batch) and cover in a fresh brine before storing in the fridge.
• If you see a fine, white mould form on the surface of the brine – this is fine, just wash it off before storing your pickles in the fridge. But you should not see any colourful or black mould – this is not good. They should smell good. They should taste crunchy. If you think they need more fermenting, leave them out for a few more days.
• When kept in the fridge, pickles have a very long shelf life, long into the following season of cucumbers.
• This recipe is based on a summer climate. Fermenting times will vary based on the season/climate.