|Recipe Name:||Crentza Soss's Garlic Dill Pickles||Submitted by:||Julie|
|Preparation Time:||60+ Minutes|
|Number of Servings:||1|
1 Bunch(s) grape leaves
1 Bunch(s) peeled garlic
1 green chili
2 Tablespoon(s) Sea salt
1/2 Teaspoon(s) pickling spice
From Eve C., Portland Ore.:
So the story behind this pickle recipe… I learned to make these from Elsa W., the wife of Dick and Lolita’s longtime friend Joe E. (mother of our friend Milan E., whom you might have met). The recipe was handed down from Elsa’s grandmother, Crentza Soss, and Elsa’s one request before she shared it was that Crentza always be given credit for it. This is the recipe for "Crentza Soss’s garlic dill pickles”. Please write them down as such, and if you share the recipe, please be sure to share Crentza’s name along with it.
(note: I make these in late summer. I drive out to Sauvie Island in the morning, get a 20 lb bag of pickling cukes, and have them in the brine the same day they were harvested. Some years I do two 20lb batches. Late summer is also the season for fresh dill heads and grape leaves. I’ve never tried making them in winter with supermarket kirby cukes and dried dill seed. Results may vary.)
CRENTZA SOSS GARLIC DILLS
For each quart, you will need
approx. 6-8 small, very fresh pickling cukes
3-5 peeled, lightly crushed garlic cloves
1/2 -1 fresh dill flower head with seeds
1/4-1/2tsp pickling spice
1 small dried hot pepper (optional, for spicy pickles)
1 fresh grape leaf (optional, but delightful) If unavailable, substitute 1/4tsp “pickle crisp"
pickling salt or kosher salt with no additives (diamond crystal is good, mortons has additives)
Prepare the jars- either wash quart jars in hot soapy water, then place in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes OR run through the hot cycle in a dishwasher.Place upside down on a clean kitchen towel to cool till ready to use. I find wide mouth jars much easier for pickles.
Prepare the cukes- put them into a sink of cold water and wash well. Discard any cracked or soft cukes, trim any long stems, remove any blossoms. Drain
Make the brine- measure hot tap water into a pitcher. For each 2 cups of water your pitcher holds, add 1 Tbsp kosher salt. Stir until completely dissolved, let cool. The salinity will be similar to sea water.
Pack the jars- Line the bottom of each jar with a fresh grape leaf. tuck into corners with a wooden spoon handle. Add garlic, pickling spice, dill sprig and chili pepper if using. Pack the jars with the cukes. This takes some finesse and practice, as you want to pack them as tightly as possible, but without damaging them. Most importantly, no part of any cuke can stick up past the top of the jar.
Once your jars are packed, you can add the brine. Pour brine over the cukes till completely covered. Bang the jar onto the counter to release any large air bubbles. Once they are wet, you may be able to settle them a little further into the jars. Again, it is very important that no part of any cuke is breaking the surface of the brine.
Now for the interesting part- you leave the jars open on your kitchen counter for 2 days. Put them in a cool spot where you can monitor them. Check regularly for floaters breaking the surface and wedge them back down with clean fingers. The jar will feel much roomier, and you may find you can even tuck another small cuke into the jar after a day. By the second day, the brine will be starting to get a little cloudy, there will be the beginnings of a pickle-y smell, and some foam or scum may be forming on the surface. it’s time to close the jars.
Put jar lids and rings into a pot of very hot, but not boiling, water. Prepare another small batch of brine for topping off jars.
-Gently skim any goop off the top surface of each jar with a spoon. be sure to rinse spoon between jars.
-top off brine in jar to within 1/3” of the top edge.
-carefully wipe the lip of the jar with a damp paper towel, then place a warmed lid and ring on the jar and hand tighten.
-when all the jars are done, you can carefully move them to a cool pantry. Not the fridge yet. They will be half sours in about a week, and will really develop complex pickle goodness in about a month. The jars may leak a little bit at the top,(remember, they are not tightly sealed) so a good idea to put a tray or towel under them. Once they are fermented to taste, you can put them in the fridge to radically slow down the process. We leave ours in the basement the whole time. the last jars are not crisp anymore, but have fantastic flavor.
Eating the pickles-
One of many great things about these pickles is that it is easy to tell if anything went wrong. All sorts of interesting things go on with these live ferment pickles… fizzy when opened, a ropy texture developing in the brine, white sediment on top of the cukes, are all just fine. However, if you open a jar and the pickles are super soft (as in your finger goes through them), well, that jar gets tossed. Either something broke the surface long enough to allow aerobic spoiling, or some bad bacterium found its way in with all the good ones. Never, in over 20 years of my experience, has anyone gotten ill from eating these pickles. They are a fantastic and amazingly healthy probiotic food, and they will spoil you for any other kind of pickle.
Thank you Crentza, and all the wonderful garlic scented women that came before you!