Pickles are a staple in most Ukrainian homes. Certainly they are in mine, and Judy’s. And we’re talking home-made whenever possible!
Because I am such a wonderful wife ;-) I make dills for my DH... who can’t get enough of them. So I usually pickle about 40-50 lbs of cukes (which I get at Mary's Garden in Surrey) for a year’s supply of dills.
Until this year, I always made only two kinds of pickles. Most of the cukes get processed in a canner with the standard vinegar brine. For those dills I use my MIL’s recipe, which is very yummy.
The other kind are my baba’s recipe … the old-fashioned traditional Ukrainian variety using just garlic, dill, salt and cold water. Because they’re fermented, they don’t last as long, so I just make a few jars and generally don’t share them. :-) I’ve already polished one off, and am stretching it out by adding lettuce leaves. They pickle really quickly (usually overnight), so I satisfy my pickle cravings with them, and am not as tempted to open another jar too soon!
This year, totally by accident, I bought way more pickling cukes than usual. I bought 80 (count ‘em, 80!!!) pounds. Well, I thought I would never get through them all. I had to buy more jars, vinegar, salt, chasnyk, and dill, but I pickled every last one. Exhausting as it was, it was totally fun!
Since I had so many extra cukes this year, I decided to add a couple of new recipes to the mix. And wouldn’t you know it, Judy just happened to come along with a couple of her favourite pickle recipes to share with Nash Holos listeners! Serendipity or what?!
Here’s the first one: Judy’s Favorite Super Sour Dills.
First, make a mild brine by bringing to a boil 1 cup vinegar, 8 cups water, and 7 teaspoons pickling salt.
In the meantime fill 6-7 jars with well-scrubbed pickling cukes (you'll need about 5 lbs). To each jar add sprigs of dill (use the flowering dill), several cloves of garlic and, if desired, one small dried red pepper. If you happen to have a horseradish plant in your garden, add ½ or ¼ of a leaf. This helps keep the pickles crisp.
Judy likes to add raw carrots or sliced onions for a different taste. I always buy several bunches of new carrots when I'm getting the cukes, and add one or two carrots to each jar of cukes. (I think the carrots also help with the crispness, but I'm only guessing.)
Add hot brine to filled jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Place covers on jars and store in a cool place for 6 weeks. They will turn cloudy, which is perfectly normal.
If you absolutely can’t wait the full 6 weeks to try these pickles, Judy says 4 weeks is ok. But definitely *not* just one week. (Ahem.) Although, I must say they’re delicious even before they get “super sour!”
Next week’s recipe will be Refrigerator Bread & Butter Pickles. Stay tuned!