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Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

Servings: 4 2-cup jars

Ready time: 3 to 5 days


3 pounds small cucumbers

2 tbsp sea salt

8 sprigs fresh dill

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tsp pickling spice

distilled or purified water, as needed


Remove stem ends from cucumbers and slice into rounds of desired thickness. Pack a food-grade plastic or earthenware container with a capacity of at least 8 cups with a layer of sliced cucumbers. Sprinkle with a light layer of salt and a few pieces of dill and garlic. Add more cucumbers and another sprinkling of salt, garlic and dill. Repeat until all cucumbers are used up.

Place a small plate or shallow bowl over cucumbers and weigh down with a can. Set aside on the countertop to allow cucumbers to release their liquid. If, after about 12 hours, the liquid level isn’t high enough to cover cucumbers, make some extra brine (about 2 tsp salt for every cup purified water) and pour it overtop of the slices. Add mustard seeds and pickling spice and mix in gently. Again, push solids below the level of liquid to inhibit surface growth, and replace the plate and weight.

Check cucumbers regularly over the next few days, tasting for the development of sourness and skimming off any scum that may have formed on the top.

After 3 or 4 days, cucumber should start to taste like pickles but you can leave them a day or two longer for more sourness. When they taste just right to you, pack pickles into jars along with garlic, dill and brine and refrigerate. Enjoy or keep for up to 2 weeks.

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