Back before my gardening days when he learned that my grandmother made refrigerator pickles every summer, he started asking for them as a birthday gift from her. A few times when she has made traditional canned pickles, he received jars as Christmas presents, much to his delight.
So, it became imperative that I grow cucumbers and learn how to make our own pickles. I love cucumbers and the pickle recipe is super easy, so there was no objection here.
I've played around with a few recipes over the past couple of years, but the apple cider vinegar recipe is our favorite. The rice wine vinegar was too mild. The regular white distilled vinegar is fine, it's good, but I can't have too much of it with my Celiac. Plus, the extra tanginess of the apple cider vinegar gives that recipe a little more umph.
Since I started making refrigerator pickles I've only ever used our home grown Boston Pickling cucumbers from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, discussed in this previous post. They're a great producer for us. You have to keep an eye on them, as a few 8" - 9" 'ers have snuck up on us, especially after a heavy rain. Ideally you want to pick them at 5-6".
Here's my recipe for 2 full quart size jars:
- 2 to 2.5 lb pickling cucumbers, sliced or speared (whole cukes don't absorb the brine well enough when making quick refrigerator pickles)
- 1 1/2 C. water
- 1 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Kosher salt (regular salt is fine, but it may make the brine cloudy)
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- a dash of garlic powder (I used to pile on the minced garlic, but have to steer away from it these days)
- 1 tsp. dill (dried)
- Bring water, vinegar, salt, red pepper, black peppercorns and garlic to a boil. After it reaches boiling, take it off the heat to cool a bit.
- While bringing to a boil, slice up your cukes and add them to sterile mason jars. Pack in as many as you can.
- Top the jars with the dill.
- Once the liquid has cooled a bit, pour it into the jars over the cukes. If there is any space remaining at the top of the jar, you can add water.
- Tap the bottom of the jar a few good times to release any air bubbles.
- Close the lid tightly and let the jars sit on the counter until they are room temperature, then put them in the fridge.
- Let sit for at least 12 hours, shake jars occasionally to stir up the brine.
- Pickles will last up to two weeks in the fridge
|Sliced cucumbers, before going into the brine|
Next I need to try traditional water bath canning so we can keep our pickles on the shelf to enjoy year-round. I water bath canned tomatoes for the first time two years ago, but failed to post about it. Then last year we didn't have a garden at all since we were moving. I know acidity is very important when water bath canning, so I need to do some research for pickles.