Making Pickles

By Penny Howard

We planted cucumbers this spring.  Lots of cucumbers.  And they obliged and produced lots of fruit.  So, we have made pickles.  Yes, lots of pickles.  Dennis has water bathed several batches. Some with peppers and some without.  Some with a variety of peppers. 

Refrigerator Pickles

I make refrigerator pickles.  One day, when my grandsons were at the house, they helped me make pickles.  At 10 and 11 they aren’t as excited about making pickles as I am, but they helped.  The 10-year old picked the cucumbers. Then he measured and poured the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt into the pan.  He stirred to dissolve the salt as the brine heated.  He isn’t a fan of the smell and he was out of there.    

Getting Some Help

The 11-year-old told me he isn’t much of a pickle kind of guy but did help out by peeling about a dozen cloves of garlic for me.

I cut the cucumbers into spears and he helped put the garlic and dill into the jars.  When the brine was cooled, I poured it into the jars, and we capped them and put them in the refrigerator.  Waiting for the brine to cool was the most time-consuming part.

They were proud when I handed their mom jars of pickles to take home.  Mom was thrilled because she is a pickle lover and loved the refrigerator pickles we made last year.  I also took some to their dad who was equally excited.  He even gave me the idea to make a whole jar of pickled peppers.  That is his favorite part. So, I now have pickled cayenne peppers in the refrigerator waiting to be tested. 

Reuse and Recycle

Since I was using room temperature brine and not water bathing the pickles, I was able to repurpose commercial salsa jars.  If you are water bathing or pressure canning, you must use real canning jars and new seals each time.

Once the you put the lids on the jars, you can put them in the refrigerator and let the vinegar and salt work their magic for a few days.  Then open and enjoy!  They should last in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks.  They seem to disappear much faster than that in our house.  You can add a pepper or two to each jar if that suits your tastes.  I didn’t add any to our batch, so they are kid friendly.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles (or Peppers)

2 cups white vinegar (or 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup apple cider vinegar)

4 cups water

2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt

1 teaspoon of sugar

10-12 cloves of garlic

10 black peppercorns

Sprigs of fresh dill

7-10 cucumbers cut in spears or rounds.

5 pint jars

Place vinegar, water and salt into saucepan.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt.  Remove from heat and let cool. 

Cut cucumbers into spears and pack loosely into pint jars. Add garlic, dill, peppercorns and any peppers if you are using them. 

Pour the liquid over the cucumbers until they are covered.  Screw on the lids and put in the refrigerator.  Wait 3-4 days and sample your pickles.  They last in the refrigerator about 4-6 weeks. 

And there you have pickles! 

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