Skull Gang Foraging Club: Eastern Euro Dill Pickles

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Winter foraging is fairly scarce/rubbish. That’s why people pickle shit.

Ari Aleksieva taught us to make pickles. She lives in a concrete square amongst other concrete squares in the wastelands of Bulgarian suburbia. We met her through her son, Alexander. He grows weed in cupboards, and rarely brushes his teeth. Four of them live in a two bedroom flat with a view of a graveyard that stretches far enough to have a train track. The lift is terrifying, everyone sleeps on couches, and there are too many swastikas painted in the stairwell.

We ate nothing but pickles while we were there. Ari Aleksieva makes the best pickles in the world.

Here is how:

Find enough baby cucumbers to tightly fill a large jar.

Sterilise the jar by washing in warm soapy water, rinsing, then drying for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 140 degrees Celsius. Make sure the jar is upside down so it drains.

While waiting, get a pan large enough to hold the jar and half fill with water. Put it on the stove to boil. Throw in the lid of the jar when it does.

Wash the cucumbers, and remove the ends.

In a separate pan place enough cider vinegar to half fill your jar, a heaped tablespoon of sugar and salt, and enough water to fill the jar the rest of the way. Bring to the boil. This is your pickling solution.

Place the washed cucumbers in the sterilised jar with 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, the firm half of a spring onion (chopped), and two sprigs of dill. If possible use dill with the flowers attached.

Add your boiled vinegar solution, leaving as little air in the jar as possible, 1.5-2 centimetres at the most.

Fish the lid out of the boiling water and screw it on. Use a tea towel.

Place the whole jar upright in the boiling water for around 15 minutes. You may want to unscrew the lid a half turn for the first ten to let any excess air escape.

Try and wait a month before you eat them.

When you do it will be like that time you realised that the gherkins on your cheeseburger were the best bit, and you got to eat all the extra ones that the idiots who hadn’t realised it yet would throw away.

Like that, but better.

 

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