Open jar dill pickles are easy and fun to make. The photo below shows a fresh jar on the left side, just started; on the right is a jar that has been fermenting for about a week. The cloth cover is meant to keep the fruit flies from drowning in the brine.
In a bowl, stir until dissolved:
- 1 L water
- 75 mL sugar
- 60 mL pickling salt (kosher, coarse, no additives – but I’m not sure if it matters)
- 1 L pickling cucumbers (see note below about adding other veggies)
- dill (several long stalks)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
Dump the chopped garlic into a 2 L jar and layer the cucumbers and dill stalks (cut and fold them to fit). After you’ve packed them in, add the water-sugar-salt until the jar is almost full.
Put a weight (e.g. a glass, small jar, clean rocks) on top to hold the vegetable matter underwater, but still lets some air in. You don’t want it to be airtight.
Cover with a cloth and fasten with a thick elastic band to keep fruit flies out. (It doesn’t keep them away: just out of the brine!)
Leave at room temperature for a week or two, and then eat over the next week or so. Put them in the fridge once they reach the level of pickling that you like.
I have never bothered with the grapevine leaves, since I don’t have a handy supply. They are supposed to help keep the pickles crisp, but we always eat them before they have a chance to get mushy.
I usually add some other veggies to fill the jar as tightly as possible. Carrot chunks, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, even raw potato chunks – all pickle nicely. One time I tossed in some zucchini chunks but after a week they were disgusting and inedible.
Don’t let a bit of fuzzy whitish-grey scum on the top bother you. The first time I made them, I waited a day or two after my husband started eating them before I let the kids have any. I was observing to see if he survived without poisoning. (He was fearless because his family used to make them.)
- Homemade Hungarian Pickles (sannekurz.wordpress.com)