The Minute I enter my Grandma Hanna's house in Jerusalem, the aroma that creates the feeling of home hits me. I glimpse into the pots, most likely give a little taste (or two).
Pickled cucumbers are my Grandma Hanna's all time appetizers, always served before the real food gets to the table. Like a fingerprint, she has her own pickles, and my mother has gone one step further in perfecting the method and the technique.
My version of Grandma Hanna's pickles is where I feel it all comes together – old and new. The essence of home created with the best quality ingredients. Serve them with corned beef or roast beef, Dijon mustard on the side. They are wonderful.
For a large jar:
- 4 1/2 pounds small cucumbers
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 hot green pepper, halved
- 2-5 stalks of dill
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper seeds
- 2-3 tbsp natural vinegar
- Gauze cloth
- Crust of old bread
1. Wash cucumbers and remove any "tails" from ends.
2. Scatter garlic and hot pepper at the bottom of a tall jar, and squeeze in the cucumbers and the dill stalks. Add bay leaves and black pepper seeds.
3. Boil water and salt, at a ratio of 1 heaping teaspoon of salt for every cup of water. After boiling, turn off flame. Wait for 2-3 minutes, and then pour hot water on cucumbers. Add vinegar. Stretch gauze over the opening, and place the end of bread that is not very fresh, and close. Cover partially and place in well-lit area, like on window sill. After 2-3 days, when cucumbers and water changes color into a khaki-like shade, they are ready to eat.
The dill must be very fresh and fragrant, or it will ruin the taste. At the end of the pickling process, store in cold place or in the fridge.
Important: Do not put hand in jar – use fork or tongs to remove pickles.