Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quick & Easy Refrigerator Pickles, Two Ways: Garlicky Dill & Not-Too-Sweet!

Becca here with a great recipe to use up the bounty of cucumbers from your garden, your generous friends' garden, or the farmer's market!  I was so excited to receive a good amount of these small cucumbers that are perfect for pickling from a sweet friend & neighbor that knew I'd find something to do with them.  My family loves the crispness of refrigerator pickles, either homemade or from the store, and they really are so super simple.  It's no more difficult than mixing up a quick brine of vinegar, salt, water, and spices and pouring it over the cut cucumbers and letting them sit for a few days to absorb the flavor!  If you'll look carefully you can see subtle differences in the jars pictured; the one on the right has pickled carrots as space fillers in it also, and is a garlicky dill pickle, inspired by a food network recipe.  The pickles on the left have a slightly more orangely colored brine, and are a subtly sweet, but equally delicious, flavor.  I hope you'll give this recipe a try, it will take 30 minutes or less start to finish, and how cool is it to be able to serve your family pickles you made yourself!

Garlicky Dill Pickles

20 garlic cloves, peeled
4 cups white vinegar
8 cups water
4 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons dried dill
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons coriander seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons black pepper (whole or ground, either is fine)
12-15 pickling cucumbers, cut into spears (I quartered mine)
carrots, cut into sticks, or mini carrots, optional
clean, lidded containers for pickles, I recommend pint glass jars

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add garlic and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in vinegar and salt, and continue to cook, stirring, until all salt has dissolved.  Remove from heat & set aside.

Pack cucumber spears into each jar tightly.  You don't want them squished, but you do want as many as you can get into there, it should be really full.  This is a great job for a child to help with, my 5 year old son packed all of the jars for me.  Use carrots as filler in any empty gaps you have if you'd like!

Stir remaining ingredients into vinegar/water brine (dill, celery, coriander, mustard, black pepper), and pour over cucumbers to fill jars.  Make sure each jar gets some of the seeds in them! **Note - your brine should still be really hot since you just prepared it, but if you have to stop the process and restart, or get distracted, make sure that your brine is really hot when you're pouring it over the cucumbers!

Cover tightly, and let pickles sit on the counter until they are at room temperature, or at least until you're easily able to handle the jars.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 2-3 days, and up to 3 months.

Not-Too-Sweet Pickles

4 pint jars packed with pickling cucumber spears
1 cup sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 Tablespoons salt

Combine all brine ingredients (sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, and salt) in a large bowl and stir until salt and sugar have dissolved.  Pour over cucumbers in jars.  Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least a few days before serving.  Enjoy!

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