It's Time to get Pickled!
We are now post-Labor Day--meaning the hours are ticking away until there's no more fresh garden produce. And the days are already percceptively shorter with the clock now starting the countdown to final harvests.
Sure, there's more time for the final hay cuttings ...and apples ...and winter squash and potatoes and pumpkins. And woody herbs will be around for a bit longer.
But soon, there won't be any more cucumbers and peppers.
SO-- it's a great time to make the perfect homemade, straight-from-your-garden, crunchy condiment, a quick recipe that you can pull out of your refrigerator and put on that holiday buffet table …
Over the past couple weekends, my sister Chris, and I have been making Refrigerator Pickles, using variations of the many recipes found on the internet from other bloggers and even some famous chefs, who all have their take on these classic country condiments.
Chris prefers the sweet Bread and Butter pickles, with her own special twist of ZESTY and hot (jalapenos!) to put her own signature on it.
I made the classic and crunchy Garlic Dill Pickle (above)
What both of these recipes share are the following qualities:
they are refrigerator recipes, so the pickle retains the crunchiness of fresh cucumbers
they can be stored in the refrigerator for a few months but never in the pantry (they're not canned)
they use fresh cucumbers that you likely have in your garden now
the preparation time from beginning to end is an hour or less because you are not canning!
the seasonings in both recipes can be adapted to your taste preferences.
You can proportionally reduce the amounts for less than 9 pints, but THESE make great gifts!
Basic Rules for all Refrigerator Pickles:
Use throughly cleaned jars and lids. I prefer using the dishwasher to sanitize.
Use wide-mouth, pint jars (easier to fill and then later, to remove those pickles!)
Use only fresh cucumbers, after washing, from the garden or organic fresh market (No waxed fruit from the store)
Cut off the blossom and stem ends of the cucumbers and discard (the two ends or tips)
Use only filtered or distilled water
Use only kosher or pickling salt –no iodine or other product or elements in the salt you're using
Use only white vinegar or cider vinegar that is labeled 5% acetic acid
Use only pure cane sugar if the recipe calls for sugar
Chris' Zesty and Sweet Bread and Butter Pickles
9 pint jars
Cook the following together in a large pot:
6 cups white vinegar
2 cups cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 tsp tumeric
1 Tbsp. Yellow mustard seeds
½ tsp ground clove
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped garlic
Simmer above together about 30 minutes.
In a separate large bowl, combine the following:
9 cucumbers, sliced into disks about 1/4” thick
1 large onion, thinly sliced and separated
2 large jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
½ cup of salt
Let this sit together about 30 minutes, then rinse and drain.
Next, fill 9 wide-mouthed pint jars with the cucumber mixture. Press down to compact as needed.
Ladle the hot vinegar solution into each jar, covering the mixture with liquid to within ¼ inch of the top rim.
Apply the lids and rims. (Chris likes to invert her jars while cooling, even though we're not doing traditional canning.)
Allow to cool on the counter, then refrigerate.
Wait one week before sampling!
My Garlic Dill Pickles
9 pint jars
Cook together in a large pot until a low boil:
7 cups of water
1 cup of white vinegar
½ cup salt
Prep 9 cucumbers by slicing each of 9 cucumbers in half, into roughly the height of your pint jars.
Then slice each half into about 6 wedge slices, to have the typical pickle wedges.
Put 6 whole black peppercorns and ¼ tsp. Yellow mustard seeds on the bottom of each of 9 jars.
Put 1 fresh dill head on the bottom of each jar ---OR--1 rounded tsp of dried dillweed in each jar.
Put 1 large, peeled clove of fresh garlic in each jar.
Next, hold your jar horizontally, and pack each jar with the cucumber slices. You should be able to get about 12 slices in each jar.
Finally, ladle the hot water, salt and vinegar solution over the pickles until it is ¼ inch from the top.
Apply the lids, allow to cool on the counter, then refrigerate.
Wait one week before sampling!