Here it is, our Nourishing Traditions-inspired pickle recipe (by request from several people).
This isn’t a recipe so much as a method — because really it could be varied quite a bit and it would still turn out great. I like to use smallish whole, unsliced cucumbers for pickles — they stay crisper that way. These are dill pickles, but with a more nuanced, subtle flavor than store-bought dills — imagine a dill pickle without that strong vinegar taste.
Here are your ingredients, per quart:
6-8 smallish cucumbers or banana peppers (seed and slice the peppers)
1 T. mustard seeds
1 T. whole peppercorns
1 T. whole cloves
3-4 sprigs fresh dill (the more the merrier)
2-4 cloves garlic, sliced or roughly chopped
Approx. 2 c. brine (2 T. sea salt + 2 c. water)
2-3 T. whey (optional, but highly recommended)
Sprinkle some mustard seeds, garlic, dill, and cloves at the bottom of a quart-size jar. Fill the jar half full with cucumbers or sliced peppers. Layer in more of the spices, dill, garlic. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the cukes or peppers, leaving about 2 inches room at the top. Throw in whatever’s left of spices. Pour in the whey then top off the jar with brine until the pickles/peppers are covered. Cover tightly and leave on the counter for 2-3 days. Taste a pickle or pepper. Does it taste really great? It’s done. Is it a bit salty? Leave it for another day then try it again. When they’re done, transfer to the fridge. They will keep several months, at least.
Variation: when you hit the height of pickle season, and you’ve made a few batches of these already, you will have a half-full jar or two in your refrigerator. Instead of messing around with making more whey every time, we use a good cup or so of the liquid from the half-eaten pickle jar as an “innoculant” to get the new batch started. Sorta like a sourdough mother, except with pickles.
Lazy woman’s variation: OK, to be perfectly honest, I leave out a lot of the spices when I make these. And they still turn out great. For banana peppers in particular, I like to keep it very simple and just add garlic and peppercorns to the mix.
Adam made some pints of the peppers, as well, because we have several requests for samples.