Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 18, 2019

Making kosher half-sour dill pickles

Filed under: food,Jewish question,Turkey — louisproyect @ 10:25 pm

In the 50s and 60s, my father had a fruit store in Woodridge, NY that was famous for the kosher half-sour dill pickles made in the back of the store. By the time I was 14 years old, I began making them using his time-honored recipe. It consisted of the standard spices that he bought wholesale, garlic, dill and vinegar. You put about 25 pounds of Kirby cucumbers into a huge barrel, mixed in the other ingredients, put the lid of a peach basket on top of all this, and topped it off with a heavy stone to keep everything compacted together with the pickling ingredients. People used to come from miles around to buy his pickles.

The kind of barrel I used, about four feet tall.

In recent years, I have gotten into the habit of buying what my Turkish relatives call turşu, which is pronounced turshu. There was a great store that sold turşu on 85th and First but like so many small businesses became a casualty of extortionist rental leases.

We then started buying kosher dill pickles from Fairway, even though they didn’t sell the entire range of turşu products, which in addition to pickles can include mixed vegetables. Since Fairway is owned by Blackstone, a company I really hate for personal reasons, I decided to look into making them myself. It turned out to be a roaring success.

If you have access to a Whole Food store, you can buy Kirby cucumbers there. Then, you order the Ball spicing mix  from Amazon (or buy it from Whole Food or your local supermarket, even though I think you’ll have to end up ordering it online since it is not an everyday product.)

Kirby cucumbers

If you are making two quarts of pickles, as the Ball instructions indicate, make sure to use 2 ½ pounds of pickles rather than the 3 ½ it calls for since that would require a third quart jar. But still use the same amount of pickling ingredients. Don’t bother buying fancy gourmet vinegar. Heinz works just fine. This is what you’ll end up with after a week in the fridge. Trust me, they taste great. I say that as a bona fide expert on kosher pickles learned as an apprentice to my master pickle-maker Jack Proyect.

The next step is to make turşu with the other ingredients, a mixture of cauliflower, long green peppers, carrots and cabbage. Goes great with barbunya pilaki and kuru fasulye.

8 Comments »

  1. I’m definitely going to give this a try!

    Comment by Erich J Walrath — March 18, 2019 @ 10:58 pm

  2. Sounds delicious. You can take the boy out of The Catskills, but you can’t . . . . .

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — March 19, 2019 @ 12:35 am

  3. This must be an example of delectable materialism.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — March 19, 2019 @ 1:47 am

  4. My brother and I would stop at your dads store after school for a pickle.
    Jack would help us up, so that we could pick out our own superb pickle.
    He was a sweet man.

    Comment by Barbara Natelso — March 19, 2019 @ 2:00 am

  5. Considering what the left has been going through for the past forty years, I commend your pickles for being only half sour.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 19, 2019 @ 1:29 pm

  6. Dillalectical materialism in action.

    Comment by HH — March 20, 2019 @ 1:59 am

  7. Lovely recipe Louis – look forward to trying it.

    Carlo Canteri in country Victoria 90 minutes North of Melbourne

    On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 9:25 AM Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist wrote:

    > louisproyect posted: “In the 50s and 60s, my father had a fruit store in > Woodridge, NY that was famous for the kosher half-sour dill pickles made in > the back of the store. By the time I was 14 years old, I began making them > using his time-honored recipe. It consisted of the st” >

    Comment by standinginnocentlyby — March 20, 2019 @ 12:46 pm

  8. Cannot wait to make my own pickles! Thank you so much for sharing. Love dill pickles!

    Comment by Billy — April 3, 2019 @ 4:38 pm


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