Making Pickles: Grappling with Garden Glut!

Refrigerator Pickles

If you are lucky enough to have your own garden you may be experiencing garden glut about now.

I have no garden this year, and am forced to live vicariously through all of you that do.

In my imaginary garden it's time to make pickles. 

Here are two of my favorites, tried and true, handed down for generations (with modifications, of course) recipes for pickles: One to eat tomorrow, one to savor all year long.  I'm finishing up last years this month.

I've posted these before but they are worth repeating.

Over the next week or so I will be posting recipes for Tomato Juice, and tips for freezing tomatoes and zucchini.  Stay tuned!

Refrigerator Pickles

3 – 4 cucumbers, thinly sliced – but with a knife, about 1/16th" thick (.2cm)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 tsp regular, sea or pickling salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tbs dill seeds

Put cucumbers, peppers and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salts, mix well and allow to site at room temperature for 1 – 3 hours. At the same time mix sugar and vinegar and set aside – it takes awhile for the sugar to dissolve into the vinegar, so it's best to do it ahead. After a couple of hours add the sugar/vinegar to the cucumbers along with the dill, mix well and refrigerate. They are ready in a day and keep for a month.

Of all the things that I can't find here, there is only one that I cannot find an adequate or better substitute for: Dill Pickles.

They simply don't exist here.

So I make my own.

This is a combination of several family recipes.  It works particularly well if you have your own garden because the brine is measured into each jar so it's just as easy to make one jar as it is to make a dozen.

And, yes, I know that the USDA says not to use the type of jar that I use but that's what we have here…. And we're all still alive!

Garlic Dill Pickles

For each quart jar (or in my case, ¾ litre)Dill_pickles

1 thick slice onion, 1/3" (1cm)
1 1/2 cloves garlic
1 head of dill
1 tbs pickling or sea salt (do not use Iodized or rock salt)
1 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp alum, optional
5 juniper berries
1/4 tsp mustard seeds,
1 – 2 bird's eye peppers (about 1/2 inch long)
    or other hot pepper… or more if you like hot
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay (laurel) leaf, broken

Thoroughly wash jars and lids (or rubber rings)
Keep jars hot in 250F (125C) oven for at least 10 minutes, then until needed.
Keep lids or rings hot in simmering water on the stove top for at least 10 minutes, then until needed.
Scrub/wash the pickles/gherkins in plain, cold water.  If any are thicker than 1" (2.5cm) I cut them in half or 4ths.
Have everything sliced, peeled, open, ready.
Have the boiling water…boiling

Remove 1 jar, using oven mits.  Put onion, garlic and dill in the bottom of the jar.  Pack in the gherkins, neatly and tightly.  You can lay the smaller ones on top and tuck them between the bigger ones.  Fill the jar to 3/4" (1.75cm) from the top.  Add the mustard seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries, hot pepper, alum, bay leaf, sugar and salt. Fill as many jars as you are making or your canning pot will hold at one time.
Pour over:
1/2 cup white vinegar, not the fancy kind – not acidic enough for pickles

Fill with boiling water to 1/2" (1.25cm) from the top.  Dip a clean, paper towel in boiling water and wipe the rims to make certain they are clean.  Put the hot lids/rings on, lightly tighten/seal.
Process in a boiling water bath, for 15 minutes.
Remove and let cool. Check to make certain they have all sealed and store in a cool, dry place.
If any have not sealed, refrigerate and eat.
They will be ready in 6 – 8 weeks and should be used within the year.
If, when you open them (never happens), the seal is broken, discard… Do not eat.

To make pint jars, cut it all in half.

Now, I'm going to go curl up in my big chair and be depressed.  I finished cleaning my closets today and…
Sob, I can't talk about it yet….

7 thoughts on “Making Pickles: Grappling with Garden Glut!”

  1. These are great, Katie! I’ve never seen a jar-by-jar pickle recipe before. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making dill pickles, but never seem to get around to it. One jar I can do, and take it from there. Thanks!

  2. Katie – I need to echo Lulu’s sentiments. Standing in a hot kitchen canning jar after jar of pickles seems simply anti-intuitive in the heat of summer! But, I can handle one jar at a time.
    Thanks, too, for sharing your tried and true recipes!

  3. I never canned pickles, but I’ve made garlic-jalapeno pickles just buy heating the liquid mix and pouring it over the cucumbers in a tupperware container. 1 week later they are ready to be consumed!

  4. I want to have a glut of cucumbers in the garden! (Yes, that was typed in a whiny voice) Our peas and favas took over the garden so I got a late start on the summer stuff and NOTHING is ripe yet. (Sigh) These look marvelous . . . if and when my cucumbers show up around Christmas I’ll dig this back up . . . (Heavier sigh)

  5. An overnight pickle? Sign me up!
    I tried making dill pickles when I lived in New Mexico and had a big garden. I was never successful, but my method was different than this. Whatever recipe I used called for having the cukes sit in the brine for a while first and then they were canned. They always seemed to die before I got to canning them. I like this method better!

  6. Lo, and it’s perfect if you have your own garden, which, amazingly, doesn’t produce them all on the same day!
    Swirling notions, my cucumbers were a full month later than normal last year. Christmas could be nice. But be happy with the favas!
    Foodguy, Oooh, that sounds good! Posting the recipe?!?
    Toni, I’ve never tried the traditional brining method… for the reasons you said ;-))

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