So, my husband and kids love pickles and while you can get dill ones without lots of junk in them at the store, it is always nice to be able to make things like that yourself. What is really hard it to find a sweet pickle that doesn’t have high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it. The only source I have found it our local food Co-op, where there is a farm family selling sweet pickles they make with sugar instead of HFCS. Sweet pickles will be another day, today’s post focuses on dill pickles made using the refrigerator method. Note that these must be refrigerated, they are not shelf-stable, as they are not water-bath canned.
I came across this recipe at “The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking” and she made is seem so easy, I had to try it. I have made them twice now. Once using “pickling cucumbers” from the store; these are the ones I normally buy anyway since they are small and have softer skin so you don’t have to peel them. This week, I made them using some of the cucumbers from our garden. The girls are pretty proud that they grew the cucumbers that we are eating.
The recipe I used it really more of a general guide to refrigerator pickles and she gives you lots of latitude about what herbs and spices and even veggies you use. Basically, what you get from her site are the ingredients and measures for the “pickle juice” and the technique. I was going traditional, so I used cucumbers and chose dill, peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds for my “spices”.
You start with a clean glass jar that has a lid; I used an old pickle jar we had just emptied. It doesn’t need to be a canning jar, since you are not canning these, but if you have an old one of those, you could use it. Fill it with the washed cut-up veggies you want to use, in my case sliced cucumbers. Add your spices, again for me that was dill, whole peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds. Just eyeball it…this is not science as the longer the pickles sit in the fridge the more flavorful they will get anyway.
Make your “pickle juice” or brine by combining in a medium saucepan and bringing to a boil:
- 1 cup any kind of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 Tbsp. of Kosher or any non-iodized salt
You can add about 1 – 2 tsp. of sugar or other sweetener if you like a sweet pickle, but the above is a standard tart pickle recipe. Then, pour your hot brine over the veggies in the jar. Wipe of the mouth of the jar and stick on the lid. Put it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and you have delicious homemade pickles. These pickles will still be a bit crunchy like the pickles you can buy in the refrigerator section of the store. If you want them softer, more like shelf pickles, you could blanch them in your hot brine before putting them in the jar.
My husband and kids did get into them after only 2 days the second time I made them (I didn’t hide well enough in the back of the fridge) and they were still yummy even then. Wait a week if you can and then enjoy!