8 – 12 garlic cloves
4 jalapeños for heat
a gigantic handful of fresh dill
gallon of water
1/2 cup salt
small handful of peppercorns
jars and lids
assorted measuring spoons and cups
We are crazy about pickles, especially when they’re fermented. They’re crisp, bright and flavorable. Nothing says summer like pickles, and everyone has their secret recipe. Some are sweet and some are spicy, but nothing goes better as an ingredient or a decoration as a pickle.
Easy to make, this recipe is designed for the entry-level preserver. It has the hint of dill and a burst of heat along with the tang of fermentation, flavors that are sure to be hits among the picky eaters in your life. With most of the work in chopping the ingredients and filling the jars, the hardest part of making pickles is waiting the three days, but with all of the sunshine that’s bound to be abundant, it’ll be an easy time to pass.
Step One. Begin the brine
Add one gallon of water to a large pot over high heat.
Step Two. Flavor the brine
Add the salt and peppercorns to the water. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Once the salt is fully dissolved, remove the brine from the heat and allow to cool.
Step Three. Prepare the garlic.
Peel and remove the ends off the garlic. Be careful not to crush the garlic bulb, as you want it intact during the pickling process.
Step Four. Prepare the cucumbers
Trim the ends off of the cucumbers to keep them from becoming soggy in the brine.
Step Five. Prepare the jalapenos
Remove the ends from the jalapenos and chop into large chunks. Please be careful handling jalapenos, as they may burn skin and eyes. That’s why we always use gloves when handling spicy food.
Step Six. Add the cucumbers
Create a layer of pickles at the bottom of the jar.
Step Seven. Add the garlic
Add half of your garlic to the jar.
Step Eight. Add the jalapenos
Add half of your jalapenos to the jar.
Step Nine. Add the bay leaf
Add the bay leaf to the jar.
Step Ten. Add the grape leaf
Add the grape leaf to the jar. Grape leaves will keep your pickles crispy.
Step Eleven. Add the dill
Add the dill into the middle of the jar. Crush the your hands before adding for more flavor.
Step Twelve. Repeat
Repeat steps six through eleven until the jar is filled with pickles and flavor accoutrements.
Step Thirteen. Add the brine
Top the jar off with warm brine, completely covering the cucumbers.
Step Fourteen. Add the vinegar
Add a healthy splash of apple cider vinegar for flavor.
Step Fifteen. Cap off and set in the sun
Place the lid on the jar, but don’t over-tighten. As these pickles are going through fermentation, there will be gas that needs to be vented. Failure to properly vent pickles may lead in broken pickle jars, ruined pickles and a mess of brine. Place jar in the sun for three days. You will be able to see them bubble and darken as they ferment.
What can’t you do with homemade pickles?
Your finished pickles will need to be stored in the refrigerator, if they last that long. Homemade pickles are great as a snack or added to a sandwich or burger, but their culinary uses are myriad beyond backyard meals. Add chopped pickles to sauces and salads for a burst of flavor, or fry them for a particularly decadent treat.
You can tailor this recipe by omitting or changing up the jalapenos to something spicier or more flavorable. Increase the garlic for a more pungent aroma. If you start making pickles early enough in the season, you’ll have weeks to try out all of your pickle variations.