Make your own pickles.
In Europe, many non-Jewish cooks used vinegar to pickle their foods. Derived from wine, vinegar was just too expensive for many Jewish cooks to use. Instead, Jewish housewives turned to brine, with salt and water as the primary ingredients. It became popular to add garlic and dill to the brine, and in time “kosher dills” pickled cucumbers were a quintessentially Jewish delicacy. Learn more about the Jewish history of pickles here.
Other “Jewish” pickles include “sours”, “half sours” and “sweets”. These names refer to the length of time they’re fermented. Sours are fully fermented in brine for weeks. Half sours are partially fermented in salt brine for two to four weeks. Sweet pickles are pickled in salt brine and also in sugar, which also acts as a fermenting agent. Learn more about pickles and their unique Jewish history.
Did you know that according to Kabbalah many neuroses and personality imbalances are rooted in unmindful eating? There are great physical, mental and spiritual benefits to eating slowly and with intention. Get more Jewish food thoughts here.
Here’s a recipe for Kosher Dill Pickles to try at home:
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- 2 pounds Kirby cucumbers, washed and halved or quartered lengthwise
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large bunch of fresh dill, washed thoroughly
- Combine the salt and 1 cup boiling water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt. Add a handful of ice cubes to cool the mixture, then all the remaining ingredients.
- Add cold water to cover. Use a plate slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl and a small weight to keep the cucumbers immersed. Set aside at room temperature.
- Begin sampling the cucumbers after 4 hours if you quartered them. It will probably take 12-24 hours or even 48 hours for them to taste pickled enough to suit your taste.
- When they are ready, refrigerate them, still in the brine. The pickles will continue to ferment as they sit, more quickly at room temperature and more slowly in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to a week.