Ever tried Mediterranean pickles? They look and taste completely different than American deli pickles. They have a stronger “bite” to them, with more of a garlic flavor, a better crunch and a lesser vinegar-y taste.
If you’re an experienced pickler and just want to eat them already - skip to the recipe below.
But if you need to start from scratch - here's everything you need to know.
Why make homemade pickles when you can buy?
- It's healthier than store-bought - when you make it yourself you know you have no BPA and no additives. It’s naturally preserved food, which you made yourself from the freshest ingredients.
- It has a Probiotics effect - did you know pickles promote a healthy digestive system? The pickling process creates friendly bacteria that help balance the body’s digestion and make you feel less “heavy” after a meal.
- It gives you better control of flavors - do you like it spicier? With less garlic? More dill? No problem - you are in control!
How to pick the best cucumbers to pickle?
Choosing the right kind of cucumbers is essential to the pickling success.
In American supermarkets you’ll usually find the longer type of cucumbers or the full-of-bumps gherkins, but Mediterranean pickles are made with smooth-skin and shorter cucumbers (what’s “short”? well, more like a small-medium sized zucchini).
To have the best pickles ever, choose the smallest cucumbers you can find. Look for fresh and firm cucumbers which haven’t been refrigerated.
Here’s the type of cucumber you should be looking for:
How to sterilize a pickle jar?
Hmm, yes, best to sterilize the jar before we start pickling. Sterilizing the jar is important in order to get rid of bacteria which can make the cucumbers go bad before they turn into tasty pickles.
It sounds like a big chore, but it’s really very easy - just wash the jar well with soap and water, then pour some boiling water in and shut close. Wait 2 minutes, pour the water.
We’re ready, let’s pickle!
What to take
2 Liter Clear Jar (that’s about 68 oz.)
3.5 pounds cucumbers
7 sprigs of fresh dill
7 garlic cloves - peeled and sliced
1 chili pepper - cut in 2, take out the seeds
½ cup vinegar
How to make
In a sterilized jar (takes 2 minutes, easy instructions above):
Put dill and half of the garlic slices at the bottom. Tilt the jar your way a bit and place the cucumbers in a right up position.
Add some dill, the remainder of the garlic slices and the chili in between the cucumbers.
Try to fit in as many cucumbers as you can - you’ll thank me later.
Pour the vinegar on the cucumbers.
In a cup prepare a mix of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt and pour into the jar. Then prepare another mix - cup of water + 1 teaspoon of salt - and pour into the jar. Repeat this until the jar is full.
Close the jar tight and put outside or on your window edge, where it could get light (but not too much of a direct heat).
In the summertime the pickles should be ready within 4 days. A few days longer during the winter season.
To your health!