Monday, November 23, 2009

Garlic and Dill

It's no secret in our household that I am a sour dill pickle freak. I kid you not, we usually have at least a full litre jar of my favourite kosher dill Strub's in our fridge, and (provided I have someone stronger than me to open it!) I go in with a  fork at least once a day for my fix. I've been like this since I was an infant too - I teethed on baskets of pickles at the pub my parents used to frequent, and every time I visited a set of grandparents it wouldn't be the cookie jar I'd hit first but the fridge! If I was at my maternal grandparent's place, you could be sure that the cocktail onion jar would be missing half its contents by bedtime. On the other hand, if I visited my dad's mom near the end of the summer, she'd have a jar or two of her homemade cukes sitting around, bursting with a garden's worth of dillweed and a plethora of fresh garlic.

It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of crunching into a home-cured briny cucumber. Grandma stopped her pickling days shortly after her husband passed away and she relocated to a smaller townhouse without a garden. I had made pickles myself only once, in an elementary Home Economics class, but they were nothing like the garlic-infused delicacies I remembered. For one, my Home Ec recipe had sugar in it, which I despise in pickled cucumbers (bread & butter? No, thanks!), and for another, there was no pepper! So I tweaked. And tweaked. Then finally, following a fateful (and fun-filled!) excursion to the BrickWorks organic farmer's market this August, meeting up with none other than Joel (of Get the Foodie 411) and a couple other Tweeters, I had everything I could ask for to make my own cured crunchers.

And what brilliant pickles they were! To toot my own horn (and loudly, I may add), these pickles rival my favourite Strub's after a good two weeks in the fridge. While they aren't quite like the giant deli-style ones from my childhood teething days (!) they are mighty fine specimens - crammed with peppery zing and garlicky body, and not a hair of sugar to muck up the works! If you like sour dills - and I mean really like them, please please please try these... you will be glad you did. Even if you aren't so glad while waiting the minimum week for them to cure!

Garlicky Dill Fridge Pickles
Makes 3 litres
8 cups filtered water
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 3/4 lbs small, "warty" cucumbers (like Kirby), scrubbed and halved lengthwise
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
20 garlic cloves, crushed
15 whole black peppercorns, cracked
1 tsp yellow mustard seed
  1. Scrub 3 (1 L) jars and their lids well in very hot, soapy water, dry upside down on a clean tea towel.
  2. Combine the water, salt, vinegar, peppercorns and mustard seed in a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
  4. Pack layers of garlic, dill and cucumbers in each jar.
  5. Pour the (very) warm brine over them, covering the cucumbers completely.
  6. Screw the lids on tightly and place in the the refrigerator, undisturbed, for a minimum of 7 days (I recommend at least 14). The longer you leave them in the refrigerator the better they will be.
Amount Per Litre
Calories: 54.0
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 9,438.1 mg
Total Carbs: 11.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 2.9 g

4 comments :

Diana H said...

I wish my family would eat pickles. It's not worth it to make them just for myself, but I could go for a garlicky dill.

Bellini Valli said...

I am a pickle fan myself and have even been known to have pickled onion sandwiches or beets by the plateful.

Mrs. L said...

Love pickles. My grandparents used to make their own (and pickled veggies) but alas, I never learned how. Big mistake.

DaviMack said...

Wow, that's some serious garlic! I usually go over towards the vinegar side ... but these sound interesting!