My First Polish Dill Pickles (like, EVER!)

PL: Og贸rki Kiszone

Wait, am I about to admit that as a 30-something Pole (born & bread) I never fermented any cucumbers whatsoever 馃槹?
Yikes.
But there it is.

In my defense, I’m a keen consumer of these crunchy & delicious pickles aged in brine. Buying quite a lot of that stuff, one might think I’m addicted.
Why buy ready made then? – you may ask.

Good question.
Well, for some reason I always thought it鈥檚 a rather difficult art (or – science, or – perhaps both?), better left in the experienced hands of professionals. 
But recently my mind was changed, and I’ll tell you why you should give it a go yourself.

Jar of cucumbers with garlic, dill and horseradish in a jar, ready to be pickled for Polish-style dill pickles in brine.

Homemade Pickles: Is It Worth It?

There are a few reasons why it is!:

馃 The quality of a store-bought og贸rki kiszone can differ significantly. Why risk buying some dodgy ones, when we can make them properly at home? That way you’ll know for sure what’s inside the jar.

馃 The whole process is EASY. Or at least that’s what they claimed on the “Food Network” (the Polish edition) last night 馃榿.
So far, I can confirm – cucumbers in brine ARE easy to prepare. But please bear with me for another 2 weeks to see if the results are actually edible 馃槣. And the results were great first time round!

Polish Dill Pickles on a white plate, well fermented.

馃 There is a massive hype around the world about all-things-fermented. And no wonder, they’re a superfood. Your gut will thank you for consuming them.

馃 It’s worth remembering that the Polish folk were (and still are) a total fermentation experts for CENTURIES. This is how we roll! If you’re of Polish decent (or simply wanna emulate our awesome Slavic style 馃槑), just give it a go!

Polish Dill Pickles How-To’s

Before my first attempt, I equipped myself with a book by an expert – a well known Polish chef Aleksander Baron. In his book “Kiszonki i Fermentacje” (“Pickling and Fermentation”), he presents an array of recipes for all-things-pickled. The photos in the book look promising, so I’ve decided to give this method a try.

Pouring brine over cucumbers

I cannot post any FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), since I have more Q’s than A’s at this point 馃槢. But the key pointers are:

  • To pickle cucumbers, use a common rock salt. It has tons of minerals, which enrich the brine and promote better fermentation. Avoid iodised salt and salt with anti-caking agents.
  • It’s best to place the cucumbers tightly, under a slight slant, in layers.
  • And lastly – a touch of sugar helps too, it maximally prolongs the period of proper fermentation.
    1 to 2% of sugar (or honey) in the brine is enough to amp up the production of the lactic acid.
Young Boy holding a Jar of Polish Style Dill Pickles in Brine
Og贸rki Kiszone: Polish Dill Pickles in Brine

Og贸rki Kiszone: Polish Dill Pickles in Brine

Yield: 25
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6.6 lb (3 kg) cucumbers (small, short & bumpy kind)
  • 0.5 gallon (2 litre) water
  • 5-6 tbsp 8(0-100g) common salt (non-iodized!)
  • 4 horseradish leaves (optional)
  • 4 stems fresh dill (with seeds)
  • 6 oak leaves
  • 10 cherry tree leaves
  • 1 horseradish root
  • 1-2 heads of garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)

Instructions

  1. Boil water with salt, leave aside to cool completely.
  2. Place cucumbers, leaves, horseradish root, garlic and honey into a large jar.
  3. Pour in the water.
  4. Cover with a lid. The author recommends using a fermentation lid (such as this one), but I used a regular lid and it worked just fine.
  5. Set aside and... wait.
  6. You can start tasting them after 3 days or so. But for a proper dill pickle in brine, you'll need to wait longer.
  7. For the first 2 weeks, cucumbers should be stored at room temperature, then transferred to a cool place to slow down the fermentation process. Ideally, pickles should be stored at a temperature of about 50掳F (10掳C), in a cool pantry or a basement.

Notes

  • This recipe is adapted from Aleksander Baron's cookbook "Kiszonki i Fermentacje" Pub. Pascal, 2016, p.86

"Kiszonki i Fermentacje" (Pickling and Fermentation) cookbook by Aleksander Baron

Jar full of Cucumbers Pickled in Brine

Recommended reading:

Save this 鈥淧olish Dill Pickles鈥 recipe to your 鈥淧OLISH PICKLES鈥 Pinterest board! And let鈥檚 be friends on Pinterest!

Did this post help you?

Kasia Kronenberger Polish food blogger
Cze艣膰, I’m Kasia.

Here at Polonist I’m spreading the love for the wonderful Polish food. >> Learn more

Never miss a recipe. Subscribe now & start cooking!

Thanks for your feedback!

I’m always looking to improve the articles here to help you become an even better Polish cook :)

While you’re here, why not follow the Polonist on YouTube?

How can I improve it?

How can I improve it?