My mother tried to prepare the pickled cucumbers all her life and I, the simpleton, got it right the first time I tried. I never figured it out why until my 50th birthday. Well, better late then never. Cucumbers for pickling should be small, young, fresh, firm, and crisp. Pickle them soon after buying (inspect them carefully at the stall or shop), and never pickle cucumbers that have been refrigerated. Pickles are ready to taste four days after being packed into a transparent jar and left under the sun.
- 6-10 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 green chile pepper, halved
- 4 ½ lb (2.25 kg) small young cucumbers
- 4 dill stalks
- 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns (optional, but tasty)
- Wash and sterilize a large pickling jar and lid.
- Wash the cucumbers well.
- Place the garlic and green chili pepper at the bottom of the jar.
- Add the cucumbers and the dill.
- Measure enough water to cover the cucumbers and transfer the water to a saucepan (without the cucumbers), then add 1 teaspoon salt for each 1 cup (250 ml) water.
- Add the vinegar, bay leaves, and peppercorns and bring to a boil over a high heat.
- When the water boils and the salt has dissolved, tum off the heat and allow the liquid to stand for 2- 3 minutes before pouring it over the cucumbers.
- Seal the jar and place under the sun.
- Leave for 4 days.
- The cucumbers will have changed color, the bubbling fermentation will have subsided, and the cucumbers will be ready for tasting.
- Refrigerate immediately. This is important, because in Israel I didn’t, and the sauce was spoiled.
Originally, this recipe was being used widely at the time of the Greek/Roman Empires going back more then 5,000 years. And why do I call this is a sauce and not – let’s say by-dish? Because originally it meant to be a sauce (mixed with other sauces, with yogurt and cheese, etc.). The ancient didn’t mean to eat the pickled cucumbers as they came out of the pot, it was meant to be processed further.
Alternatively, you can place the cucumbers in soja source. I personally prefer the sweet soja sauce and the taste is heavenly.