Half-sour pickles

Half-sour pickles

The Hang Fire Cookbook
1 x 1 litre jar

These pickles are extremely popular in delis and a few fancy barbecue joints, and are made with a 3.5 per cent saline solution instead of vinegar, hence the name. The result is a saltier, crunchier pickle that retains a bright green skin. They are a great alternative to the regular sweet and sharp pickles usually served with barbecue.


Quantity Ingredient
500g small pickling cucumbers
2 tablespoons pickling salt
2 tablespoons sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 fresh dill sprigs
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


  1. Start by rinsing the cucumbers well under cold running water.
  2. In a heatproof measuring jug, dissolve all the salts in 250ml boiling water, from the kettle. Top up with 250ml cold water, mix in the chilli flakes and set the liquid aside.
  3. Add the garlic to the bottom of a sterilised jar (see recipe note), then tightly pack the cucumbers in vertically, pushing the sprigs of dill down the sides. Pour the pickling liquid over the cucumbers, to cover completely, leaving 5cm from the rim of the jar. You’ll probably have a little liquid left so keep it in the fridge for now. Cover the jar with muslin, or some breathable cloth (we’ve even used an old but clean pair of tights before!). Secure with a rubber band, or partially screw on the lid. The pickles will start the fermenting process so you need to leave some space for them to breathe.
  4. Put the jar in a cool dark place, like a pantry, and let the pickles ferment for 4 days. During this time, bubbles of carbon dioxide gas will be visible inside the jar as the fermentation process kicks in. Check the pickles each day to make sure they are fully submerged, and if necessary, top up with the reserved pickling liquid. It’s fine if the liquid looks a bit cloudy, however, you only need to worry if it looks dark or extremely cloudy – in that case, throw the pickles away and start from scratch.
  5. After 4 days, taste a pickle. It should be crunchy, lightly sour, and salty. The flavour profile will change over time, so try them again over the next few days. When you’re happy with the flavour, keep them in the fridge with the lid screwed on tightly; this will slow down the fermentation process and stabilise the flavour. The pickles will keep for up to 1 year in the fridge.

How to sterilise your jars

  • To sterilise jars, preheat the oven to 140°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse them well. Place them upside down in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove carefully and turn them the right way up, being careful not to touch the insides. When done, immediately fill your sterilised jars as described above.
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