I made pickles for the first time last week (amazing how one can live without such basic skills these days). Leaning on Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning, I tossed my cucumbers with salt, fresh dill (gone to seed) and sugar; then I covered them in boiled vinegar and water (equal parts). The dill and my choice of apple cider vinegar were both deviations from the recipe. After they cooled, I put the jars in the refrigerator, waited a week and then ate them.
The whole jar.
I was pretty pleased with the pickling. The consistency and taste were an odd combination of bread-and-butter and dill. The same night I also broke into the sauerkraut I put away late last year. Unlike the pickles, the sauerkraut was naturally fermented – only salt, cabbage and a few bay leaves went into it. The flavor was more complex than your standard sauerkraut, but not quite right. I believe it may have spent too much time fermenting, and I know juniper berries would have been a more traditional flavoring.
I’m still eager to try genuine, naturally fermented dill pickles – perhaps that’s my next project. Of course, the big question is: how many jars?