Homemade dill pickles

pickles 02When you live abroad, you crave certain foods from home. For me, one of the foods I miss most (after good Mexican food) is dill pickles. Especially the fancy Claussen ones that you get in the refrigerator section – soooo crunchy and good! There are lots of recipes online for homemade dill pickles, but most of them require a full weekend of preparing, cooking and canning. And honestly, I just do not have time for that. But My grandmother recently sent me a recipe for no-cook refrigerator pickles! I made them a few days ago, and they are SO GOOD!

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Interestingly, I’ve never found dill pickles anywhere in the world but in North America. Every other country does some version of the sweet gherkin. And, in my opinion, those just aren’t as good. So when I found some fresh dill weed at our local green grocer the other day, I decided to get some cucumbers and make some pickles!

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Homemade no-cook dill pickles

2 English cucumbers (about 500 grams, quartered lengthwise and sliced)
3/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 small sweet onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp sugar
1 bunch of fresh dill (or substitute 1 tsp dill seed)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
3/4 c hot (not boiling) water

Place the cucumbers in a 1 quart jar or some other container with a tight-fitting lid. (I used a clip-lock plastic container, easily found at Nakumatt.) In a bowl, combine the vinegar, onion, garlic, sugar, dill, peppercorns, bay leaf, salt, and 3/4 cup hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then pour the vinegar mixture into the jar with the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least a day before serving.

The pickles will last up to one week in the fridge, but good luck keeping them around that long! It turns out that Claire is as much of a pickle freak as I am. Between the two of us, we polished off the whole jar of pickles in a couple of days. I just reused the brine to make a second batch, which should be ready for eating later today!

This recipe comes courtesy of my amazing grandmother, Joan O’Rourke. Thank you so much, Nana!

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5 Responses to Homemade dill pickles

  1. Did you buy or grow that dill? I’m in Kilifi, and I know we have less available here than in Nairobi, but I haven’t been able to find dill anywhere! I did find some dill seeds, though.

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      I randomly found dill for sale in Zucchini (at Junction) one day, which was my inspiration to make the pickles! I have found some dill seedlings at Kalimoni Greens to plant in my garden, since Zucchini’s supply is irregular. You should get the dill seeds, if you can find them! My grandmother’s original recipe called for dill seeds, and I substituted a bunch of fresh dill when I made them. Let me know how they turn out!

  2. I tried the recipe with the dill seeds! It’s great! My husband has never liked store-bought pickles, never tried any homemade. He ate 4 at lunch today. 🙂

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      That is so great! I have dill seeds in the cupboard now for when I un out if fresh dill – I am so glad to know they came out well! And that they’re hubby-approved! 🙂

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