Sunday, July 18, 2010

Old-fashioned sour pickles

This year I have decided to brine some cucumbers to make sour dill pickles. I think they are also called Polish-style dills. I was concerned about trying this method because I have always made fresh-pack pickles and it is hard to put weeks into a batch of pickles to later find you don't like them. However I really do have plenty of cucumbers this year, so it is worth a gamble.

My mother told me that, as a girl, she would go to her local country store and buy sour pickles. Evidently, these stores, more often than not, had a "pickle barrel" filled with sour pickles. You could just dip out what you wanted.

This kind of pickle ferments in the brine, and as they "ripen," they become sour. Also, the more salt that is added, the more sour the pickles become. These cucumbers can soak in the brine for up to six weeks and will then need to be canned. I am a little worried they will become mushy rather than crisp, but we will see. This is definitely an experimental jar of pickles.

My husband came in after I had finished and said, "Man, this is a BIG jar of pickles." He's right, it is about two gallons of cucumbers in a dill brine. I do love the fact that I just washed the pickles, put them in the jar and then poured the brine over them -- so simple. Now that is the easy way to make a huge jar of pickles. I sure hope they are good.

Here's the recipe. I doubled it, so makes one gallon of pickles.

Sour Pickles

Wash cucumbers and put them in a gallon or larger jar, barrel or another container. I put all the cucumbers in whole. Most of these pickles are made with whole cucumbers of various sizes.

To make the brine:
2 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup salt
8 1/2 cups water
6 teaspoons dill seed
3 cloves of garlic
3 teaspoons mustard seed

Put garlic into jar with the cucumbers. Put all other ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers until jar is full. Weight down the pickles (I used a plate). Let set in cool, dark place for up to six weeks.

To can: Put cucumbers in wide mouth quart jars and pour over the brine until full. Cap and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.


  1. oh my goodness, those pickles look delicious!
    Can you say 'pucker-power?' I will have to head to our refrigerator for a 'Clausen,' the closest we have to a real pickle. Your blog site is inspiring. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Joanie

  2. YUMMY!! I love sour pickles!! I will be your taste tester if you need one!!!! Rhonda

  3. How did these turn out?? I'm in pickle-making mode right now and am gathering recipes.

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