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Hungarian Summer Pickles by the Quart

1 quart 3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers

1 tablespoon pickling salt

2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar

1 fresh head and 1 frond of dill

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Gently wash the cucumbers and trim away about 1„8-inch from the blossom ends. (This helps prevent softening because there is an enzyme lurking at the base of the blossom that promotes this when given half a chance!)

Insert a sharp knife near one end and slit the cucumbers through lengthwise, leaving both ends intact. This slit encourages even fermentation throughout the cucumber. Put the salt, vinegar, dill and garlic into a narrow-mouth quart jar. Pack the cucumbers into the jar so they won't float, leaving 1 inch of head space. Cover the cucumbers with about 2 cups of water. Cap the jar with a nonreactive lid, and give the jar a shake to dissolve the salt.

After the salt has dissolved, loosen the lid so that gases can escape during the fermentation process. Place the jar outdoors in the sun or in a sunny window, in a dish if seeping brine might do some damage. If you set the jar outdoors, bring it in at night.

Within 3 days you should see tiny bubbles rising in the jar; this means that fermentation has begun. The pickles should be ready within 5 days, when the tiny bubbles have stopped rising. Chill them and enjoy. They will keep in the refrigerator for many weeks.

Makes 1 quart.

Recipe adapted from "The Joy of Pickling," by Linda Ziedrich.