If you long for the taste of an authentic deli, kosher style pickle, but can't find one, then why not make them at home? It is not as difficult as you might imagine. Kosher style pickles are actually very simple to make.
What Makes Kosher Pickles Different From Regular Pickles
Most pickles that you see for sale in the supermarket are made with vinegar. This ingredient is not used in kosher pickles. Kosher pickles are made with salt, water, and spices. That's it. They go through a process called fermentation. A beneficial bacteria, much like in the case of yogurt, develops in the brine and pickles the cucumbers.
Here is a step by step guide to making your own kosher pickles.
Step 1: Buy The Right Cucumbers
You can't use regular cucumbers to make kosher pickles. They are a too large and will get soft in the center. You should look for small cucumbers. If you can find Kirby cucumbers, then get these.
Step 2: Use The Right Salt
Salt is the most important part of the brine. Salt kills bad bacteria and allows the good bacteria (lactobacillus) to flourish. However, if you use salt that has iodine in it, then it will kill the good bacteria too. So, choose an iodine free salt. A box of kosher salt would work well. If you can't find that, then look for a brand of table salt without iodine.
Step 3: Spices
Kosher pickles tend to have a few simple spices. The main one is garlic. Take a clove of garlic and crush it with a knife. You don't have to mince it up. Crushing it will release the oil and flavor.
You can also add red pepper flakes, peppercorn, and coriander. Anything else is up to your particular taste.
Step 4: Use The Right Water
Chlorine can kill the bacteria that are essential for fermentation. If you live in a city where you are using municipal water, it is likely that chlorine has been used to treat the water. So, either use bottled spring water, distilled water, or filtered water. If you live in a house that has a well, then you can use this water and not have to worry about it because well water won't have chlorine in it.
Step 5: Set Up The Pickle Containers
Use a large mason jar. Wash the cucumbers and then place them in the jar. Boil 1 quart of water and then add two tablespoons of salt to the boiling water. You want the salt to be completely absorbed into the water so that there are no salt crystals left. Let the water cool.
Place the spices into the mason jar with the pickles. Then pour the salt-water mixture into the jar. You want to completely cover the cucumbers. Any exposed cucumber will not ferment and will have to be cut off and discarded. The best way to make sure the pickles don't float up above the water level is to pack them very tight so that they cannot move.
Finally, you will cover the jar. However, you won't use the standard mason jar lid. You have to use a breathable material such as cheesecloth. This is because the fermentation process creates gas. If you put a lid on the jar it will trap in the gas.
Let the jar sit out on a table, not in the refrigerator, for several days. Chilling it can slow the fermentation process. After three days, the cucumbers should be ready to eat and taste just like the average kosher pickle brand.