Inspired by warmer weather - I assembled the ingredients to begin my first jar of dill pickles for the year. Though Carrisa and I made pickles together back in the summer of 2008 I decided to put together a new recipe.
I was fortunate that when I got the sudden urge to make a jar of pickles this morning that neighbor Suzanne had just received a bunch of fresh dill in her CSA box. We both made pickles today.
I put 4 sprigs of dill, garlic and peppercorns in the bottom of a sterile quart-size mason jar. Then I trimmed the cucumber tips, sliced the cucumbers in half and packed them into the jar along with the rest of the dill and some fresh grape leaves.
I remember reading somewhere that grape leaves help retain the crisp texture that is so favored in dill pickles. Fermenting dill pickles at a slightly cooler temperature is also helpful. My house stays fairly cool, even with the weather being extra warm this week, so that will be in my favor.
Once the jar was packed I poured a salt brine of 1 1/2 c. water to 2 T. sea salt and which included 1/4 t. of a vegetable starter over the cucumbers until they were completely covered, inserted a small glass jar (left-over from caviar) into the mouth of the mason jar to keep the pickles from floating to the surface, and screwed the sterile lid on. The pickles will sit on the cupboard for about 3 days and then they will go into the fridge.
I can't wait to see how they turn out.