|Blackcurrant / cherry leaves|
|6||Stalks fresh dill in bud|
|¾ cup||Coarse salt; 6 oz|
|4 tablespoons||Vinegar; optional|
"In Russia 'semi-pickled' cucumbers, made at the end of the summer, kept in brine for three to four days, are particularly popular. In addition to dill, which is the all important flavour, the container ~- usually an earthenware crock -- is often lined with oak, blackcurrant or cherry leaves. In Israel vine leaves are used for this purpose."
Line three 2-lb (1 kg) jars with a few washed and dried blackcurrant or cherry leaves.
Wash cucumbers, dry, and pack into jars in layers, putting them in vertically and fitting them in tightly. Sprinkle each layer with peppercorns and slip a couple of garlic cloves, a bay leaf, and a red chili between the layers. Insert a couple of good dill stalks in each jar.
Bring water to the boil with salt, allow this brine solution to cool, and pour over cucumbers. There should be enough bring to come to about 1 inch above the cucumbers.
Cover with a well-fitting lid, if necessary put a weight on top. The cucumbers must not be allowed to float up -- hence the weight. But you must also make sure that the lid and weight, or whatever you use for cover, does not press directly on the cucumbers, as this may cause bruising.
Leave in a cool dry place until ready, which can be from one to three weeks, dependent on climate. Should there be any evaporation of the liquid, make up more brine and top up. Allow six tablespoons coarse salt per quart of water for the brine solution.
If you like the taste of vinegar in your dill pickles, add two tablespoons of vinegar to 1 quart of bring solution and bring to the boil together. Then cool and use as described.
Source: "The International Jewish Cookbook" by Nina Froud
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