Half-sour kosher dill pickles

When I was a kid, I remember that some of the delis in NY City would bring a bowl of these to every table, and they would quickly disappear. Crisp, only mildly sour, with a nice garlic flavor, they have been a favorite of mine for years. And, they are ridiculously easy to make at home.

These are fresh pickles, not heat-treated, which accounts for their delicious crispiness. And they contain no vinegar, with the mild sourness coming from natural fermentation. The cucumbers are important. You want firm, fresh cukes a maximum of 4 inches long. “Pickling” cukes are ideal but not required. I provide 2 slightly different recipes.


For half-pickles, which develop their flavor faster:

2 lbs cukes washed and halved lengthwise
2-1 quart widemouth jars. They can be “canning” jars but do not need to be because there is no heat processing involved.
10 whole black peppercorns or whole coriander seeds
5 large or 8 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp dried dill
1/4 c kosher salt
2-1/2 c water

Divide the cuke halves between the jars. Pack them in vertically and rather tightly, which will keep them in place below the surface of the brine. You may have some extra, save them for a salad. Push 2 garlic cloves down between the cuke halves in each jar. Divide the dill and peppercorns between the jars. Dissolve the salt in the water and pour over the cukes. Make sure all the cukes are submerged. Cover the jars and let sit at room temperature. The brine will get slightly cloudy, a sign that the fermentation yeast is active.

After 24 hours taste the pickles. If they are not “pickley” enough for your taste, let sit for a while longer, tasting every 12 hours or so. When ready, transfer to the  fridge, where they will continue to develop, but much more slowly. Keep up to 3 weeks.

For whole pickles, which take a little longer to develop but are preferred by some:


You’ll need a 2 quart widemouth jar.

Follow the above recipe, but do not cut the cukes. Make the brine using 1/3 c kosher salt and 1 quart water.. Pack all ingredients into the jar and pour in the brine. Fill a zipper bag with water and insert it to keep the cukes submerged.

Explore posts in the same categories: Sides, Vegetables/potatoes/rice, Vegetarian

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