Pickling is an age-old practice of preserving the harvest for eating in the off-season…and it is also really, really yummy!
The traditional form of pickling involved letting the pickles naturally ferment in a stoneware crock until soured, much like naturally fermented sauerkraut. Today, unless made at home, those naturally fermented, probiotic pickles are scarce. The majority of modern pickles are processed in jars using the waterbath method. A third way is to simply make refrigerator pickles — these are made for fresh eating and are not shelf stable, but are a quick and easy way to get pickle flavor fast.
One thing that is nice about refrigerator pickles is that they stay more crisp than those processed in a waterbath. It’s also a nice option for making a smaller batch — I don’t like to drag out ye olde canner and go through that process for just two quarts of goods. If you find yourself in possession of only a few cucumbers and hankering for dill, try this concoction out!
Here’s the Recipe
Easy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
2 quart jars and lids
4 large standard cucumbers (you can sub in pickling cukes)
2 tblspns pickling salt
4 tsp dill seed
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
4-6 cloves garlic
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups distilled water
Ball pickle crisp (optional)
2 sprigs fresh dill (optional)
Spicy Variation: Add 1/2 – 1 seeded jalapeno or other hot pepper to each jar.
Wash the cucumbers and cut off a small slice from each end. Cut cucumbers into two shorter pieces. Cut those pieces in half lengthwise, and then cut those halves again lengthwise to have 8 total spears from each large cuke. You could also do slices if desired, or use small pickling cucumbers whole. I find spears are easier to pack and stay submerged in the brine better than slices. I also just like spears!
Pack two quart jars with the cucumber spears. To each jar add 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons dill seed, and a rounded 1/4 teaspoon of pickle crisp if desired. You may also add a sprig of fresh dill and/or a half-one whole pepper to do a hot dill version (adjust based on your preference for heat).
Meanwhile heat pickling salt, vinegar, and water in a saucepan until it simmers and salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Lid the jars and allow them to come to room temperature, then place the jars in the refrigerator. Allow them to pickle for at least 48 hours before consuming, but they will benefit from more time for the best flavor. If they still taste like cucumber, they have not pickled long enough.
This recipe can be increased as desired. It can also be adapted to a waterbath or fermented version, simply keep the spices the same but change the processing method. You may need to adjust the salt depending on the method you use. Always use safe canning practices.