Pickles

0905141818Mom and Dad brought us some cucumbers last weekend and I decided to try my hand at refrigerator pickles. They are way yummy and would work really well for okra, too. I slightly modified a recipe found at The Creekside Cook:

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup white or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • About 3 to 4 pounds of cucumbers – small pickling cukes are best
  • 8 large heads of dill, or more if they are smaller
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 4 pinches red pepper flake (I didn’t use this)
  • about 20 black peppercorns (I didn’t use this, either)
Instructions
  1. This will make about 4 quarts of pickles, so you need 4 1 quart jars with lids, or more if they are smaller. Canning jars aren’t necessary, but they do need a lid. Wash in hot soapy water and rinse well [or run through the dishwasher].
  2. Measure the water, vinegar and salt into a 3 quart sauce pan and set over high heat – you want the salt to dissolve and the mixture to come to a full boil. (I just popped mine into the microwave for a few minutes — just long enough to dissolve the salt).
  3. Meanwhile, make sure your cucumbers are good and clean. Cut them however you like – the smaller the pieces, the more that will fit in a jar. I like spears, because they are pretty to serve, though if I end up with a lot of odd sized cucumbers, chunks may work better. (We did spears, long slices, hamburger slices, and chunks)
  4. In the bottom of each jar, place 1 large head of dill, or several smaller ones. You can also put in some of the fronds and stems. Then put 1 garlic clove in the bottom. (I used 2-3 garlic cloves)
  5. Fill each jar with cucumbers – for spears, it might be easier to lay the jar on its side. You can really cram them in there tightly, but leave a good inch of headspace at the top, so that the brine will be able to cover the pickles.
  6. Top the cucumbers in the jars with another clove of garlic, as well as another large head of dill. You can just leave it at that, or for a little more complexity of flavor, add a scant teaspoon of mustard seed, a pinch of red pepper flake and 5 peppercorns to each jar. (Instead of another clove of garlic, I used a heaping teaspoon of chopped, canned garlic. I also added a heaping teaspoon of mustard seed and dried dill seed. No red pepper flakes or peppercorns for this batch).
  7. Carefully fill each jar with the boiling water/vinegar/salt mixture, making sure to get the cucumbers completely covered. (Again, I didn’t boil my brine and it turned out just fine).
  8. Screw on the lids.
  9. Leave the jars out in the counter for 2 or 3 days, and then store in the refrigerator for at least two weeks before opening them. (I refrigerated mine immediately and was chowing down on them the next day).
  10. They will keep well for several months at least, so long as you keep them refrigerated.
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