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My Mom and Dad would can both bread and butter and garlic spear pickles from the family garden, but Dad would always save some of those tasty little curcurbits for these fresh deli styles. He liked them "half-ripe", or set on the counter for only a day or two before the pickles started to turn that lovely olive color in the brine. Me, I love full on kosher deli flavor and as long as the brine remains mostly clear, I leave them on the counter for at least 4 to 6 days. The jar of pickles on the left are freshly packed; the jar on the right has been fermenting for four days.
Prepare jar by washing in hot soapy water, rinse well and air dry or wash in dish washer.
Scrub cucumbers as described in "Helpful Hints".
In a large container, stir together water, vinegar and salt until salt is completely dissolved.
Place half of dill in the bottom of the gallon jar. Add all remaining spices, then fit half of pickles in the jar. Sometimes it's like a puzzle to get the right fit. Add remaining dill then pickles, ending up with a single pickle as described in the hints.
Fill jar with brine, being sure to cover the final pickle completely. Lightly place the cover on the jar, put on a plate and set on the counter, out of direct sunlight, for at least 3 days. The brine should remain mostly clear and each day that it does is an extra day of flavorful fermentation. Your nose can tell you a lot about the process. After 4-6 days, place the jar in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation. Wait another day or two and enjoy! The pickles will be good for up to a month in the fridge, but they never last that long.
Because these pickles are not pasteurized, the jar and the pickles need to be clean, clean, clean. I've used store-bought "pickles", but they MUST be unwaxed. The best choice is home grown pickling cukes about 4-5 inches long, scrubbed with a vegetable brush, particularly the flower end which has a brown or beige "caul" that contains the enzymes that make the cucumber decompose. The caul must be scrubbed off completely or you run the risk of having the pickles spoil before fermentation is adequate. A little "slime" on the top of the brine is OK, a lot means wasted effort. The pickles MUST remain under the brine at all times, so the final pickle in the jar should straddle the shoulders of the jar below the lid line to hold them all submerged in the brine.
This recipe was provided by Jim Klocek from North Aurora.