I started making dill pickles a few years ago because I ‘m not fond of what’s usually sold in jars in supermarkets (although in a pinch I’ll settle for Ba-Temp-Te kosher dills). My attempts at canning pickles for long-term storage haven’t turned out well: I wound up with eight jars of soggy cucumber mush. So, until I decide to try my hand at fermenting my own half-sours, I’ll stick with short-brined refrigerator pickles. The recipe I use is Alton Brown’s, which is designed for fermenting, but with a simple modification produces superior quick pickles.
I started with eight pickling cucumbers, fresh from the morning’s farmer’s market, a bunch of dill, 2.75 ounces of sea salt, half a tablespoon of red pepper flakes, half a teaspoon of dill seed, a crushed garlic clove, and half a tablespoon of black peppercorns. These are half the quantities in the recipe; I like to start with a test batch. You’ll also notice two tablespoons of champagne vinegar, which will provide the acid normally generated by fermentation.
I dissolved the sea salt in half a gallon of filtered water. The filtering is important, minerals from tap water will discolor the pickles. Then I put all of the spices in a clean jar with a rubber gasket seal.
I sliced the blossom end off the cucumbers, then quartered them lengthwise. I packed the slices into the jar, filling as much space as I could without crushing the slices – this keeps them from floating to the top when the brine is added. I poured in the vinegar, and, finally, I added the brine, filling the jar to the top.
Quick, simple, and fool-proof. How do they taste? I’ll let you know in about a week.