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Brined Dills

2 handsful grape leaves
about 12 pounds (5 kg) pickling cucumbers (7-12 cm)
2 tablespoonsful mixed pickling spice
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
4 to 8 dill heads
6 L water
250 ml cider vinegar
1 1/4 C pickling salt

Line the bottom of a 3 gallon crock with half the grape leaves.
Wash the cuccmbers and remove the blossom ends. Layer the cucumbers,
spices, dill, and garlic cloves in the crock. Combine the water,
vinegar and dissolve the salt in the liquid. Pour the brine over
the cucumbers to cover and lay the remaining grape leaves on top.
Keep the leaves and cucumbers submerged by weighting them down with
a plate topped by a clean rock, a water filled jar, or a large
plastic bag filled with water (my method). Cover tye crock with
a pillowcase or towel and store at room temperature. Within three
days you should see tiny bubbles in the brine (fermentation has
begun). If a white scum forms, skim it off daily, and rinse off
and replace the plate and weight.

The pickles should be ready in two to three weeks when the bubbles
stop rising and the pickles are sour and olive-green throughout.
Skim off any scum. Pour the pickles and brine into a colander set
on top of a non-reactive pot. Discard the leaves and spices.Remove
the colander from the pot and bring the brine to a boil. Reduce
the heat to low and simmer five minutes. Skim off the scum that
forms. Rinse the pickles with cold water and drain well.

For refrigerator storage, cool the brine to room temperature. Pack
the pickles in to large jars. If you like, add more dill and
garlic. Pour in enough brine to cover. Cap the jar and store in
refrigerator for as long as six months. Makes about 10 liters.

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