On Tuesday I stopped by the Harvard farmer's market and, on a whim, picked up some pickling cucumbers... for, you know, some pickling. Problem is, you can't really do a full on sour pickle fermentation on a whim.... you need big crocks, grape/cherry/oak leaves, and dill heads... the latter two of which are not commonly available in your average supermarket (well I suppose crocks aren't either, but I already have numerous glass jars from various other pickling projects). So instead of a full on sour pickle, I decided to do a very basic "half sour" project instead.
For a half sour pickle you are doing a much lower salt concentration (2-4% vs. 4.5-7%) so the fermentation goes a lot faster, but the end result is a lot closer to a cucumber than it is to that super sour pickle from the deli. In addition to that we're using sunlight to speed the process even more so as to complete it in five short days. I'm generally not a huge fan of this style... the more sour the better I say... but it's a super easy recipe so why not give it a shot? Maybe these pickles will change my mind.
If you are wondering about the color of the brine, I used red wine vinegar instead of white because I thought it would make a more fun HDR picture. Anyway, on to the recipe:
Hungarian Sun Pickles
adapted from The Joy of Pickling
- 1 quart of 3 to 5 inch pickling cucumbers,
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 1 fresh head and 1 frond of dill, or 1 teaspoon dried dill seed
- About 2 cups water
- Wash the cucumbers, and remove the blossom ends (if any). Slit the cucumbers all the way through with a knife but keep the ends intact.
- Place pickling salt, vinegar, and dill into a narrow-mouth quart jar. Pack cucumbers tightly into jar so they won't float. Pour in water to cover and tightly cap the jar with a nonreactive lid. Shake the jar until the salt dissolves. Loosen the cap (with my jars I removed the rubber gasket so that the top was flush with the jar without being fully sealed).
- Place the jar outside in the sun or in a sunny window. If you put it outside be sure to bring the jar back in at night. In our somewhat dark apartment I put the jar by one window at in the morning and another once I get home from work. Within 3 days, you should see tiny bubbles, indicating the cucumbers are fermenting. When the tiny bubbles have stopped rising (around 5 days), place in refrigerator. They will keep about for a few weeks refrigerated.