Growing up my parents had been tending a Schrebergarten (community garden) in our hometown in Germany. This garden was not part of one of those gardening communities, where they constantly check if you cut your grass accurately and you find some (actually many) of them strangely decorated with garden gnomes and plastic deer. Not at all, this was no club or something similar. It was just a bunch of people growing their own vegetables, fruits and flowers for their families. This place was kind of hidden and most people didn’t even knew, that it even existed in the middle of the city.
Back then my appreciation for vegetable crops had been very limited. I never understood why my parents won’t just plant berry bushes and a cherry tree, this would have been more than fine with me. Instead there had been green beans, onions, carrots, herbs, radishes and cucumbers. Actually half of this garden had been occupied by cucumber bushes with prickly leafs. My parents took especially good care of those bushes and they were rewarded with a constant harvest over the summer months.
Green little cucumbers had been picked and buckets full of them had been carried home. Very soon after arrival my mom gave them a bath and prepared everything for pickling. I can still recall this squeaky noise when she pushed more and more cucumbers into the preserving glasses. Jars filled with pickles took over our basement, they sat there lined up on the counter and you would find them behind every cabinet door you would open. I have to admit they didn’t look very appealing to me. The bright green color of the cucumbers turned paler and the salt water looked milky. As I said I had been very fond of sweet fruits rather than salty pickles.
But fall would come and bring more cravings for hearty meals. And my mom just had to grab a jar from the basement to upgrade a boring slice of bread with cheese on top into a savory sandwich with a salty and crunchy pickle. And I liked that!
Here we go my mom’s very famous recipe for salty pickles. Requested and copied by so many neighbors and friends and now it’s up to you. My mom makes this recipe without a precise measuring, so we have to make a rule of thumb estimate, which is fine, this is not rocket science just pickling, what can go wrong?
salty pickled cucumbers
- as many little cucumbers as you can fill into your jar(s)
- 1-2 branches of dill
- 1-3 garlic cloves, whole, peeled
- you need 2 Tbsp. salt (I used fine sea salt) for every 1 liter / quart of water
- Clean your jar(s). (I always sit my jars into boiling water.)
- Clean the cucumbers by putting them into a bowl with water, transfer to a colander and rinse well. Wash the dill.
- Put the cucumbers, dill and garlic into the jars.
- Dissolve the salt in the water and pour over the cucumbers. Leave at least 1 cm/ 0.4 inch space below the rim.
- Close the jar(s) tightly and wait for 7 days. Their color turns strangely bright green (nearly emerald) during this time, that’s fine.
- Rinse the pickles before eating. Unopened jars can be stored for several months.
There is no exact measurement for the amount of pickles, dill and garlic. This has to be eyeballed and depends on the size of your jars and your taste. Here is how I do it: I have a dedicated jar which holds 1.8 l (about 7 1/2 cups). I fill it up with cucumber, 2 branches of dill and 2 garlic cloves. But as I said, it’s up to you. There is always leftover saltwater, but you might have to make some more if you fill up several jars at the same time.