How to Make Brine Cured Pickles

How to Make Brine Cured Pickles - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

What is Brine Curing?

Curing foods in brine is an old fashioned way of preserving without refrigeration. A salt solution is used to cover the food and keep it from spoiling. I remember my Grandma M making large crocks full of pickles in the summer with this very process. She would wash the cucumbers and put them in a crock, then cover them with a solution of salt water and vinegar, with some spices. The crock would go in the cool basement or on the shelf over the cellar steps. After a few days she would ladle out some pickles into a serving bowl and we’d dig in. Yum!

mustard pickles

Nowadays, I like to make my own brine cured pickles from the extra cucumbers harvested from my garden. I have a wonderful crock that my parents gave me last fall, but I haven’t had enough cucumbers for filling a crock. Maybe I’ll have more soon! Instead, I’ve been using glass bowls to make smaller batches of pickles at a time. I’ve tinkered with the old recipes and come up with two variations of brine cured pickles that I really like. Judging by how fast they are disappearing, my guys must like them too!

Brine Cured Pickles

Brine Cured Dill Pickles

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs peppercorns
  • 2 or 3 dill flowers or a handful of dill leaves
  • 8 or so cucumbers (or other veggies), washed and sliced

Heat water in a small pan and add salt. Stir to dissolve salt then remove from heat. Pour salt water and vinegar into a glass bowl or small crock and stir to combine. Add cucumbers, dill, and peppercorns. Make sure brine solution is deep enough to cover all of the vegetables. You may cover bowl with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place a plate on top that is small enough to set right on top of wrap and solution. You will need to put some weight on top of the plate to hold all of the vegetables under the solution. Vegetables that are in contact with the air may spoil. After a day or two you can start dipping into your new pickle stash! Don’t use your fingers, use a slotted spoon to remove pickles and prevent contamination of your brine solution.

Be sure to keep your veggies under the brine solution with a plate and weight.

Be sure to keep your veggies under the brine solution with a plate and weight.

Brine Cured Mustard Pickles

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs powdered mustard seed
  • 1 or 2 Tbs whole mustard seed
  • 1 Tbs peppercorns
  • 10 or so cucumbers (I also used sliced summer squash)

Heat water in a small pan and add salt. Stir to dissolve salt then remove from heat. Pour salt water and vinegar into a glass bowl or small crock and stir to combine. Add cucumbers, mustard seeds and powder, and peppercorns. Make sure brine solution is deep enough to cover all of the vegetables. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place a plate on top that is small enough to set right on top of wrap and solution. You will need to put some weight on top of the plate to hold all of the vegetables under the solution. Vegetables that are in contact with the air may spoil. After a day or two you can start dipping into your new pickle stash! Don’t use your fingers, use a slotted spoon to remove pickles and prevent contamination of your brine solution.

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Notes:

  • You can pickle many vegetables this way. Onions, green beans, summer squash, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and peppers all come out delicious and crunchy.
  • Make sure to use a non-reactive container for your brine and pickles.
  • I have kept my brine cured pickles on the counter for several weeks, dipping out pickles as we want them, and adding fresh veggies to the brine to keep the pickle supply topped off. This is the way people used to do things, but if you are concerned about the safety of your brine cured veggies, put them in the refrigerator after a week and use them up in 2 or 3 weeks.
  • If you ever notice any off scent or slimy texture to your veggies, toss them in the compost and start a fresh batch with new brine solution. If you make sure that your veggies are always under the brine solution, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Have you ever made brine cured pickles? What is your favorite recipe?

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