Easy Dill Pickles

Do you have the patience to wait for these to get good and sour? Let’s see! This is the time of year to get small pickling cucumbers from farm stands and farmers’ markets, but no worries if you can’t — just slice up a big cucumber or two and make pickles from that. They’ll still be delicious!

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Hands-on time: 20   |    Total time: 2880   |    Makes: 2 Quarts

KITCHEN GEAR

Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Medium-sized pot
Large glass or nonreactive metal bowl
Small plate

INGREDIENTS

5 cup water
2 tablespoon salt
3⁄4 cup white vinegar
1 1⁄2 pound small pickling cucumbers or 2 seedless English cucumbers or 2 (14 oz.) packages of baby cucumbers
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoon large dill sprigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. To make the brine: put the water, salt, and vinegar in the pot, put the pot on the stove, and turn the heat to medium. When the mixture boils (you’ll know it’s boiling when you see bubbles breaking all over its surface), turn the heat off and set aside to cool. 
  2. Wash the cucumbers, trim off the blossom ends (that’s the end opposite where it grows on the stem), and, if you’re using large or baby cucumbers, cut them into 1/4-inch slices. If you’re using pickling cucumbers, leave them whole.
  3. Put the cucumbers, garlic, dill, and peppercorns in the bowl. Add the cooled brine and stir well. 
  4. Lay a plate over the top of the cucumbers. Leave the cucumbers for 2 or 3 days, until they are as sour as you like them.
  5. Cover and refridgerate up to 2 weeks.

The sour taste of pickles comes form the added vinegar as well as the natural process of fermentation, which uses healthy bacteria to convert the vegetable’s own sugar into tart lactic acid.