- 20 reasonably small, unwaxed and very firm Kirby cucumbers, free of bruises or brown spots, about 2 1/2 – 3 pounds maximum
- 16 cloves peeled garlic, halved lengthwise
- 2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 2 tsp. nigella seeds
- 5 small, dried hot red peppers (Chile de Arbol are perfect)
- 2 slices of peeled horseradish root, about the size of a Kennedy 50 cent piece, 1/2″ thick and cut in half
- 2 quarter-sized piece of ginger, same thickness as the coin too
- 3 bay leaves
- 24 to 28 sprigs dill, preferably with seed heads, well washed (basically 2 bunches of dill) – if no seed heads are present, add 2 tsp. dried dill seeds
- Heel of sour rye bread with caraway seeds (optional but strongly recommended)
- 4 Cherry or Oak leaves, washed (strongly preferred) or 2 bottled grape leaves, well-washed or 4 Tbsp. Black tea leaves – at least one of these are needed to help keep the pickles firm!
- 3 quarts of bottled water, or as needed
- 9 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt (this is for 3 quarts of water), or as needed
- 3 tsp. cream of tartar
- Carefully wash the cucumbers, rubbing gently with a sponge, a soft brush, or your hands to remove all traces of sand and cut off both ends of each cube, as the blossom end contains an enzyme that softens the pickles and the other end is for aesthetics. Discard any with bruises.
- If you are using a food-safe bucket or pickling crock, just put all the cukes in there fairly tightly – but try and make sure to alternate cukes and the leaves together.
- Mix 3 quarts of bottled water (NOT TAP WATER, it’s chlorinated and will ruin the pickles!) with the salt and the cream of tartar and stir until dissolved. Pour the salt water into the crock to completely cover the pickles. To the crock, add the garlic, all herbs and spices, and bread, if using (put the bread in last so it is on top, making it easy to remove).
- Place the pickle crock on a stain-proof surface in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator. A temperature between 65 and 70 degrees is just right. Place a dish or a pickle weight directly over the pickles, in the brine, and to ensure the pickles stay submerged in the brine. Cover the crock loosely with a dish towel or a double thickness of cheesecloth (cheesecloth is preferred).
- Check the pickles every 24 hours and remove any white or gray foam that has risen to the surface; this will prevent rotting. Remove the bread after 1 ½ days. Shake the crock slightly to distribute spices and be sure to re-weight. Add salt or other seasonings if the brine seems bland.
- Taste test every day starting on day 14, but do NOT put your fingers in the pickling jar, use a clean utensil to remove items.
- When the pickles have reached the degree of sourness you like, they must be stored in the refrigerator in tightly-closed, clean jars to stop fermentation. Pour some strained brine into the jars to cover the pickles. Keep refrigerated at all times and ideally eat within a month or so.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 84.77 kcal
- Sugar: 2.4 g
- Sodium: 886.56 mg
- Fat: 3.01 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.34 g
- Trans Fat: 0.0 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.34 g
- Fiber: 5.26 g
- Protein: 3.64 g
- Cholesterol: 0.0 mg