If you make a simple salt brine, add some spices, and submerge Kirby cucumbers in it for about a week, you get some fairly delicious pickles. I'm pretty sure if you measure your salt right and store the fermenting pickles at an appropriate temperature you'll get crunchy pickles.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
additional:
1 week
total:
1 week
Servings:
16
Yield:
16 servings
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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Brine:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place water, salt, and garlic into a large saucepan. Add cloves, bay leaves, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns. Stir until salt is dissolved. Heat over low for just a few minutes to bring water to room temperature. The water should not be warm.

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  • Place some dill flowers in the bottom of a jar or crock large enough to hold the cucumbers, spices, and some brine. Place a few of the cucumbers on top of the dill weed. Alternate layers of dill flowers and cucumbers, ending with a layer of dill. Pour pickling brine into the crock. Gently tap or shake the crock to eliminate any air bubbles. Weigh down the pickles with a small ramekin to ensure they stay below the surface of the brining liquid. Top with more brine. Reserve any extra brine to add if necessary during the fermentation process. Cover crock.

  • Place crock where it can ferment at a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees F. Let pickles ferment for a week, checking every day to ensure pickles remain submerged. Small bubbles may appear; this is a normal product of the fermentation process. Add more brine if necessary.

  • After about 8 days, you can skim off the foam. Test a pickle for flavor and crunch. You can continue fermenting them for a couple more days or, if you like them at this point, transfer pickles to a large jar. Fill jar with the brine from the fermentation process. Cover and store finished pickles in the refrigerator.

Cook's Notes:

You need exactly 80 grams of salt for 8 cups of water. The brand I use weighs about 10 grams per tablespoon, but yours may vary, so it's best to use a scale.

Ferment at room temperature (I hear that between 70-75 F. is ideal) for about a week. Check every day as these can ferment fast. They are done when you like the taste. If you go too far, they start to get soft, and the inside gets hollow. Keep the brine level topped off.

This makes extra brine for topping off.

Pickling Spice Note: I tend not to like a lot of spices in my pickles, so I believe the amounts listed here are fairly puny compared to most recipes. Feel free to find one of the many pickling spices recipes online, and use that instead.

Nutrition Facts

12 calories; protein 0.5g 1% DV; carbohydrates 2.9g 1% DV; fat 0.1g; cholesterolmg; sodium 2886.8mg 116% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (22)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
07/24/2016
I find that fermentation results are more variable, & less controllable, than those of any other food preparation method. They can be affected by any of the following: the ratio of salt to water, ratio of brine to cucumbers, cucumber size, cucumber quality (related to freshness, growing season/conditions/weather, strain/cultivar, etc.), ambient temperatures during fermentation, the unknowable variables of lactobacilli &, seemingly, assorted other completely mysterious forces. In other words, "Past performance is no guarantee of future results." So one should always consider the lactobacilli to be the capricious executive chef in charge, & oneself to be merely a lowly assistant! Read More
(14)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
08/21/2016
Extremely salty. Not edible. Flavor - yuk. No redeeming facets. Read More
(3)
23 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 12
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 4
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: 4 stars
07/23/2016
I find that fermentation results are more variable, & less controllable, than those of any other food preparation method. They can be affected by any of the following: the ratio of salt to water, ratio of brine to cucumbers, cucumber size, cucumber quality (related to freshness, growing season/conditions/weather, strain/cultivar, etc.), ambient temperatures during fermentation, the unknowable variables of lactobacilli &, seemingly, assorted other completely mysterious forces. In other words, "Past performance is no guarantee of future results." So one should always consider the lactobacilli to be the capricious executive chef in charge, & oneself to be merely a lowly assistant! Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
08/07/2016
This is a very old fashioned way of doing dills. It is exactly the way my Ukrainian grandmother and aunt made pickles. They are delicious and perfectly sour. I do omit any spices, using only lots of garlic and dill. Thanks Chef John for the memories. Made a batch last week and they are perfect. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
07/13/2020
Please note that 1 Tbsp of Morton's kosher salt is about 17 grams in weight. 5 Tbsp is the more correct amount if you are going to use volumetric measurement. Using 5 Tbsp or 80 grams will yield a ~4% brine which is perfect. Unfortunately, if you lacked a scale and used 8Tbsp under the assumption that you were following a perfectly correct recipe, that is undoubtedly why the end product was too salty. This amount of salt is a 7% brine and is well north of the generally accepted max salinity of 5% one would typically use to produce a fermented pickle. Read More
(5)
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Rating: 5 stars
08/16/2018
These were way too salty if you ate them fresh from the jar after 8 days. However, I completely rinsed the pickles in fresh water and then put them in glass sealable jars that were filled with fresh water and the dill from the pickling process. They were then kept in the frig and they were FABULOUS. The family said that these were my best pickles ever. Read More
(4)
Rating: 1 stars
08/21/2016
Extremely salty. Not edible. Flavor - yuk. No redeeming facets. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
05/27/2020
Best dill pickles ever. But I did modify based on the reviews I read. For the first ten days, I left them in the brine which I admit is really salty. Then I poured out half the brine leaving all the good flavor (bay leaves, garlic, etc) and then filled the jar with half vinegar and half water. Then refrigerated for another week. Wow! So good. I think you can pickle almost anything this way. Try it. So good. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/06/2018
Now I was convinced the majority of reviews saying this was too salty didn't weigh their salt out. I weighed my salt out since I wasn't using kosher salt. Luckily I decided to taste the brine before starting and found out it was WAY too salty. Not sure where I went wrong but I just added water till I got a nice salty brine that "seemed" right. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
07/16/2018
I’ve made it. I think next time to cut the amount of salt a bit. But otherwise it turned out very nice! I’ve transferred the pickles into mason jars and kept them in my fridge for quite a long time without any problem. Thanks for the recipe! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
05/29/2020
Great..Love them as does everyone Read More