This is my Bubu's lacto-fermented dill pickle recipe, which has been perfected over nine decades of pickle making by a passionate Jewish grandmother. We lost my Bubu in 2021, but her pickle recipe lives on forever with you and me!
1-2lbspickling cucumbersassortment of 2-3 inch cucumbers (see notes)
bunchdill weed with seeds
2garlic cloves peeled
1Tbsp Kosher salt or Kosher pickling salt
24dried red chili peppers optional
1scant tspdistilled vinegar
Filtered tap or bottled water enough to fill up each jar
Sterilize mason jars and lids by washing them with hot water or in the dishwasher.
Soak pickles in a cold water bath, then gently scrub pickles to ensure they are clean. While cleaning each pickle, sort them by size in two large bowls.
Add salt, 2 chili peppers, 1 garlic clove, and small bunch of dill weed to each mason jar, then add one layer of pickles to the jar. Add a second layer of dill and garlic clove, then add more pickles on top until jar is filled with pickles. Pack them in tightly and use the variety sized pickles to fill in gaps.
Add scant teaspoon of vinegar to each jar, then fill with filtered water to fully cover pickles while still leaving about 1 inch of open space at the top. Do not fill the jars to the rim.
Boil jar lids in hot water, then carefully tighten the lids on each jar. Add jars to a rimmed baking sheet in a cool, dark place in your house.
After about 12 hours, flip pickles upside down for a minute, then place them right-side up on the baking sheet. Over the next few days, you'll hear the jars pop as the gas tries to escape. If a pickle jar looks like it's about to explode, open it for a second to allow some of the gasses to escape. Don't leave the jar open or you will introduce too much oxygen into the jar and oxygen can create mold.
Store the pickles in a cold, dark place for 1-2 weeks. During this time, the brine will become cloudy and bubbly. This means the fermentation is working. You should see your pickles change to a dull olive green color.
You can eat the pickles after 1-2 weeks (depending on how pickled you like them). Check them after 1 week for doneness. Once pickles are at your desired taste and texture (usually 2-3 weeks), store them in the fridge to slow the fermentation process. Enjoy as desired.
Refrigerated pickles will last 6+ months after pickling, however, they can be eaten for years afterwards too. They will soften over time, losing their crisp texture and fizzy, carbonated texture.
You can find the best and freshest pickling cucumbers at your local farmer's market. Be sure to request an assortment of 2 and 3 inch cucumbers so you can pack plenty of cucumbers in each jar.A successful pickle ferment will show the following signs:
Bubbles will rise to the top of the surface and air pockets may form inside the jars. This is carbon dioxide and the sign of a healthy ferment.
The skin of the pickles will turn from bright green to an olive or army green. Also, the interior of the pickle will be translucent vs. white once fermented.
The brine will turn cloudy - this is lactic acid. You want to see this happening.
Pickles will sink in the jar vs. float. The pickles will be absorbing the salty water (brine). The cucumbers gravity increases while the brine's gravity decreases.
When you bite into a fermented pickle, it will have a carbonated, fizzy taste. This is great! Pickles will taste tangy and effervescent (carbonated). All good stuff!
When you're ready to open your pickles, I highly recommend doing it over the sink. The ferment is powerful and the bubbles may fix everywhere (it's like opening up a shaken can of soda).Not all ferments are successful. Don't fret, it happens. If you see blue-green mold spores on top, it's rotten, toss it. Also, if it smells horrid when you open the jar, it's a bad batch. I might mean you forgot to add the salt, you stored the pickles in too warm of an environment, or something bad got into the jar and you didn't realize it. Again, it happens. Toss it and start over as there's no use crying over moldy pickles.If you use smaller jars, adjust salt (about 1/2 tbsp). Do not oversalt.