We got pickling cucumbers in our CSA box this week.
Finally, after a couple of years of wanting to, it was time to try my hand at homemade pickles. To my surprise, they couldn’t have been simpler. I decided to go with refrigerator pickles, since the lack of heat processing keeps them crisper, although they only last about 3 months.
The hardest part was finding pickling spice. After striking out of my local grocery store, I decided to just make my own mix.
I’m storing the leftovers in anticipation of future pickles, whether cucumber or otherwise. I know it’ll come in handy one way or the other.
As for the pickles, they were super-easy. I just boiled a vinegar-water mix with spices, salt, and sugar, poured it over the pickles, and let them sit covered for a bit.
Then it was time to can them and let them cure.
We’ll see after about two weeks how the finished product tastes, but the hubby and I sampled a couple of “raw” pickles and they were outstanding.
Refrigerated Dill Slices
From the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, with my modifications
8 1/4 cups trimmed pickling cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
6 Tbs pickling salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs pickling spice*
7 1/2 tsp dill seeds
5 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
5 cloves garlic, halved
Place the cucumber slices in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and pickling spice. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce the heat, cover, and boil gently for 10 minutes. Pour the pickling liquid over the cucumber slices, and cover the bowl with waxed paper. Set aside for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature.
In each prepared jar, place 1 1/2 tsp dill seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp peppercorns, and two garlic clove halves. Add the cucumber slices and fill to within a generous 1/2-inch headspace of the top of the jar. Ladle some of the pickling liquid into the jar to cover the cucumbers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Screw the lids on and allow to cure in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before enjoying. Use within 3 months. This recipe makes about 5 pint (500 mL) jars.
* To make about 1/2 cups of pickling spice, stir together 1 4-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces; 5 bay leaves, crushed; 2 Tbs mustard seeds; 1 Tbs whole allspice; 1 Tbs coriander seeds; 1 Tbs whole peppercorns; 1 Tbs ground ginger; 1 Tbs dill seeds; 2 Tbs cardamom seeds; 2 Tsp hot pepper flakes; and 1 tsp whole cloves. Store in a jar or other airtight container for up to a year.