Monday, August 8, 2011

Cukes! Cukes! Cukes!

These gallon jars of dill pickles are rather grandiose.  My cucumber patch reminds me of the story “Jack and the Beanstalk”.  Perhaps they are growing fast and furious because I put my patch where my composter used to be.  We are getting a little saturated with gummere salat, so I decided to make crock dills.  I did not have a kettle large enough to can and seal these jars, so I made pickles the way my mother used to.  She would pick the cukes fresh, wash them thoroughly, and then place them in a large crock in the cellar.  She added pickling salt and fresh dill (which she grew in her garden) and then filled the crock full of water.  A plate was placed on top of the cukes and she put a large stone on the plate to keep them down in the brine.  We could hardly wait for the brine to ferment the cucumbers (4-5 days) and turn them into delicious kosher dills.


20 cucumbers - 4”to 6” long
1 garlic clove
Fresh dill
Brine solution:   3 quarts of water to ½ cup salt.  Use pickling salt.  (Do not use salt with iodine in it).  Heat solution and pour over cucumbers.

If you would rather can pickles, try this recipe.  It is from the cookbook Kuche, Kochen published by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1973.  


Medium cucumbers
8 cups water
1 cup vinegar
Pickling spices—tied in cloth bag

Bring vinegar water and pickling spices to boil.  Wash cucumbers and fill jars with dill at the bottom and top of jars.  Add 1 clove garlic and 1 ½ tsp. salt and alum if desired.  Fill jars with vinegar and spice water and seal tight.  Put jars in large canning kettle and cover with water.  Boil until pickles change color, about 20 minutes.

Note:  Cleo Flegel passed away in 2009.  Cleo’s husband, Arthur, is one of the original founders of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia.