northwest Home made Dill Pickles (cucumbers not gherkins)
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« on: Tuesday November 15 2016 11:23:51 AEDT AM »

Home made Dill Pickles (cucumbers not gherkins)

Many fond memories of home-made dill pickles made by my mother & other neighbours, all New Australians as we were called, when I was growing up in a country town. A very multicultural environment at its best.

This is a natural fermentation process where lactic acid is formed responsible for the fine flavour & acidity in finished product. Its like sauerkraut making in many ways. It was a a way to preserve an abundance of cucumbers in summer for cold European winters. The Poles were renouned for this as was a Latvian friend up the road.

Recollections include asking my mother why she added bay leaves & oak leaves. She says the former added a flavour, the latter kept cucumbers firm. Cucumbers were  selected for uniformity at 6-8" long ans she am whole). Dont think she used sugar or much vinegar. She stressed sterility & keeping the cucies covered during fermentation. It would or could form a unsighltly white growth / skin (fungus?) but was told it was just floating on top and cucies were fine below. They were delicious with smoked pork (spek), various sausages, potatoes, pickled or smoked herrings or mackeral etc. Here are 2 recipes I found (links)

Dill Pickles


The above uses Low Temperature Pasteurization. Some say it results in a better product texture, but must be carefully managed (temperature) to avoid possible spoilage. Maintain 180º to 185º F (ie 82-85 C) water temperature for 30 minutes. (Check with a thermometer to be certain of at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes.) Temperatures higher than 185ºF may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.

Polish Style Dill Pickles (Traditional)

A brief description of process follows. It uses dill seed & dill greens, mustard seeds, garlic clove, coriander, bay leaf, pepper & mum would add oak leaves (you could try a eucalypt leaf as it's the tannin that helps firm the product. May give an Aussie bush flavour!  ).

Wash and scrub cucumbers. Trim stem and blossom end. Leave small cucumbers whole, or slice into spears or sandwich slices as desired. All cucumbers in a jar should be similar in size and thickness.  Add seasonings, except salt, to 1 pint wide mouthed jar. Pack firmly with cucumbers, leaving a 1/2" headspace. Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a small sauce pan. Heat until boiling. Ladle into jars to cover cucumbers - again, leave a 1/2" headspace. Seal jar with sterilized two piece cap, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (15 minutes for quarts).

Wait 4-6 weeks before tasting to allow pickles to cure. Refrigerate after opening.


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