Since I moved to South Korea, I’ve missed deli-style dill pickles. I’ve got nothing against Korean pickles, but they’re a completely different animal. Korean pickles — usually a mix of cucumber, radish and sometimes peppers — are sweet and sour and sometimes a little spicy. They’re served alongside fried chicken, pizza and other Western-style foods to cut through the richness.
But there’s nothing like biting into a crunchy, briny spear with your sandwich or burger. I’ve been craving deli-style dill pickles (the kind you find in the refrigerated section at the grocery store in America), but I’ve never been able to find them at the Korean supermarket. I decided to try my hand at homemade ones and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was!
I looked at half a dozen recipes for refrigerator dill pickles to figure out a ratio for the brine (in my opinion, the saltier and sourer, the better!) and figure out what ingredients would be easiest for me to find at a Korean supermarket. Here’s the recipe I came up with. Enjoy!
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 2 cups of water
- 1 1/4 cup vinegar (white or apple cider will do)
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 4 cucumbers (or enough to fill two glass spaghetti sauce jars)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Dill (I prefer fresh, but it’s hard to come by, so I usually use dried)
- Pickling spice
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine salt, water and vinegar in a pot on the stove. Give it a stir and bring it to a boil. Then turn off the heat and let it cool down.
- In the meantime, add 1/2 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 sprig of fresh dill), 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a smashed clove of garlic to each jar.
- Cut the cucumbers into slices or spears and add them to the jars. Top the cucumbers with the other smashed clove of garlic.
- Carefully fill the jars with hot (not boiling!) brine. The cucumbers should be completely submerged. There will probably be some liquid leftover. Secure the lids and give the jars a gentle shake to distribute the spices throughout the jar.
- Refrigerate for four days then enjoy! Keep your pickles refrigerated.