Friday, December 26, 2008

Dill pickle slices

On September 25, 2008, I posted my recipe for dill pickles. The good news was that we could get pickling cukes at that time at our favorite farmers market. The bad news is that we can’t get them in the winter.

More good news: I have found that one can make quite delicious dills using the so-called seedless or English cucumber.

I’ve tried this twice, the first time using the basic recipe from September. I think because the English cuke is sliced it absorbed too much salt. They were surprisingly ready to eat in just hours instead of days. I had to exchange the pickling liquid with a mix of white wine vinegar and water to tame the sodium.

The second batch is much milder. What I will post here is a third batch which should be just about perfect. The pickles will be quite mild. If you try this, post a comment and let me know what you think.
If you don't have, or don't want to have, pickling spice, just add a couple of pinches of any or all of the following that you do have: cinnamon, peppercorns, mustard seed, powdered ginger, coriander seed, dill seed, mace, allspice, juniper berries, cloves and bay leaf.

Dill pickle slices
1 English cucumber, sliced in ½” rounds
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 2/3 cups water
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp pickling spice (such as McCormack's)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dill seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix all the brine ingredients together, making sure to dissolve the salt and sugar. Place the pickle slices in a jar. I have a commercial dill pickle jar that holds 32 fluid oz. which is the perfect size. If necessary use two smaller jars.
Bring the brine to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from the heat and allow to stand until it's just cool enough that you can stick a finger in it. For whole cucumbers you would pour the boiling brine over them. I think, because these are slices of cuke, that you'll avoid mushiness by letting the brine cool slightly first.

Pour the brine over the pickles and refrigerate for 2-3 days.

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