Source Unknown, Shared by Jake Lau of Square Roots Farm
Yield: About 1 gallon
20 pickling type cucumbers
15 cloves garlic
1-2 dried red chiles
6 bay leaves
2 tbsp. pickling spice OR 1 1/2 tsp mustard seed, 1 tsp dill seed (or 2 fresh dill seed heads), and 1 tsp. coriander seed.
1 gallon cucumber brine ( 3/4 cup unrefined sea salt to 1 gallon un-chlorinated water)
Grape, oak, or horseradish leaves, enough to cover the top of the jar or crock (optional)
** The leaves help keep the cucumbers crisp
Scrub the cucumbers in water. Trim off the stems and scrub of the blossom ends, as they contain an enzyme that will soften the pickles.
Lightly mash the garlic cloves with a knife, just enough to break them.
Pack the cucumbers, incorporating the garlic, chiles, bay leaves, and spices as you go, into 4 wide-mouth quart jars or a 1 gallon jar or crock. Pour in enough brine to cover them. Tuck the grape leaves, if using, or a piece of plastic wrap over the cucumbers. Cover the jar loosely.
Set aside on a baking sheet to ferment, somewhere nearby, out of direct sunlight, and cool, for 3-6 days. During the fermentation period, monitor the brine level and add more if needed to cover.
The cucumbers begin a vibrant green. As the cukes start to ferment, they turn a drab olive, the result of the acids interacting with chlorophyll. The brine will become cloudy as lactic acid is produced. In 3-4 days you’ll have half-sours, in a bout 6 days you’ll have full-sours. Taste until the pickles are as sour as you’d like them to be.
When the pickles are ready, cover with fresh grape leaves, if you have some, screw on the lids, and store in the refrigerator. these will keep refrigerated for 1 year.