Right now, I am just about up to my ass in cucumbers. Although my vines are dying back because of bacterial wilt carried by cucumber beetles (damn them) Over the past few weeks we've been harvesting far more pickling cukes than we can possibly eat fresh. We've already made a couple of batches of Maryanne's Bread and Butter pickles, and now we are starting to make cold-packed Polish Dill pickles.
These are really easy. All you need to do is put some aromatics like dill, garlic, and mustard seed on the bottom of a big jar, fill the jar up with freshly pickeld and cut cucumbers, and pour the jar to the top with a prepared brine. Then cap the jar off and stash it in the back of the fridge for a week or so to mature. It's simple, and delicious,
The recipe I'm going to share here, like many of the other recipes I've developed over the years, has been swiped and copied into recipe databases all over the internet, often without attribution. But you can be sure that wherever you find this recipe, it originated in my kitchen regardless of whether or not I'm credited.
As written, the recipe will make a gallon of dill spears. Feel free to adjust it as necessary and tweak the seasonings if you like. (Some people like to reduce the amount of mustard seed, for example - my recipe makes a traditional New England-style mustard-flavored dill pickle.
Dave's Cold Packed Polish Dills
4 pounds Pickling cucumbers
8 Dill heads
6 Cloves of garlic (or possibly more)
8 cups Water
2 cups White vinegar
1/2 cup Pickling salt (or 3.5 oz by weight)
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
4 teaspoon Whole mustard seed
Wash and dry the cucumbers; prick a few holes in each with a fork, or possibly quarter them lengthwise. Peel and break the garlic cloves.
Place half of the dill heads in the bottom of a clean 1-gallon jar. Add in the garlic, crushed red pepper, and mustard seed. Pack loosely with cucumbers and top with the remaining dill. Chill while preparing brine.
Combine water, vinegar, and salt in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, then cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, making sure they are covered. Screw a lid on the jar and store in the fridge for about 4 weeks before serving. If you've quartered the cucumbers instead of leaving them whole, they will be ready somewhat sooner (two weeks instead).
Ingredients can also be divided between four 1-qt widemouth jars. It is it more convenient to make a gallon jar batch (takes less of a footprint in the refrigerator) and then divide up the pickles later into separate jars when they're ready to eat. (Which frees up the jar for the next batch, too)