quick and easy homemade pickles

by Stacy

What kind of pickles do you like? After we moved grocery store trips were sometimes fraught with peril — the brands we used to buy in the Midwest (Sing with me now… Gedney, it’s the Minnesota pickle!) aren’t always available in California.

Occasionally I will come home with what I thought was the right item only to be testily informed by my spouse that said food was sub-par. It took about 8 months for me to buy a jar of pickles that was acceptable. Perhaps, like peanut butter, we won’t need to buy any for a while…

cucumbers en route to pickledom

A few days ago my husband peeked through the doorway of the office wondering if the pickles in the fridge were, in fact, pickles yet. The day before, they were cucumbers, but now, they are pickles — as if by magic, or, more likely, salt, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Do you like cucumbers? I’m not a huge fan of them on their own. Approximately 99% of the time, I’m cold. The phrase “cool as a cucumber” exist for a reason. I don’t want to be cool, I want to be warm — not that turning them into pickles heats them up, but it does add some warming spices, and then I can put them on a nice warm veggie burger.

When I first considered making pickles I was apprehensive; I’ve never really canned anything. My mom canned jam and jelly (and still does on occasion), but I don’t remember doing much more than stirring and fetching ingredients. I know that canning itself isn’t really hard, it just requires some attention to detail, like not killing your family and friends with botulism. After a bit of research I learned that I could just make simple refrigerator pickles, no “real” canning required. Sold!

pickling spices

After a little post-pickle-making research, I thought these were like the delicious offspring of kosher dill and bread-and-butter pickles. Then I kept reading and I’m not sure. Let’s just call them Delicious Overnight Pickles. Fair? Mix them up before bed, they’re ready when you get up in the morning. I’m not sure what you’re eating for breakfast that has pickles on it, but hey, who am I to judge?

A tablespoon each of sugar and kosher salt is dissolved in 3/4 cup of white vinegar. Add the cucumbers to a quart jar, pour the vinegar on, add some garlic, dill, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns for zip, cover with water, and refrigerate. Spears would work fine if that’s how you roll. I find the repetitive slicing to be a bit zen.

homemade pickles

Oh look, pickles. That was easy.

My husband, upon getting the OK, tried them out and pronounced them, “Not like store pickles. Because they’re not store pickles. They’re good.”

I agree. They have a nice dill flavor with some depth added from the garlic and coriander. The peppercorns could be optional, but I liked the slight kick they lent to the pickles. Other spices might be nice, but I wanted to keep it simple for my first attempt in case it was a disaster.

Oh, and after several days, neither of us has botulism. Sounds like a success to me!

homemade pickles

Delicious Overnight Pickles

Makes 1 quart

According to all the pickle-making experts on the intertubes you have to use Kirby cukes and blah blah blah. I used the ones from our CSA share. They were green and fresh and in my fridge, so I used them. So there!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cucumbers
  • 8 sprigs dill
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (do NOT use table salt, the world could end — and your pickles will turn funny colors)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Directions:

  1. Slice cucumbers into coins, spears, or planks. Place in a clean 1-quart jar with dill sprigs nestled amongst the cucumbers. Add garlic and spices.
  2. Combine salt, sugar, and vinegar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour over cucumbers. Add water to cover.
  3. Place lid on jar and refrigerate. Pickles will be ready in 4-6 hours. Eat within a week or two.

homemade pickles


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Christie {Honoring Health} July 1, 2010 at 3:42 am

Yum, I have been wanting to make pickles, too since out CSA has them also.

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Stacy July 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

This was pretty “oh, what the heck, I’ll try it,” even for me, so I was impressed as to how well they turned out. Considering how long it takes me to choose pickles at the grocery store it might even be faster!

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TreeHugginMomma July 1, 2010 at 9:27 am

Now this is my kind of recipe! Use what you have however you want to…..
You made me laugh out loud with this post. I am a pickle person. I love cukes to, but only pickle cukes, the little bumpy kind, and i am picky about my pickles. I like them crisp not soggy and must have flavor. I am going to add this to my list, right after sourdough starter, which I promise as soon as I am done with camping 2 weekends in a row I will make and tend and feed and love and name….. I am thinking Stinkee

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mom July 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm

There is a recipe for Refrigerator Pickles in our family cookbook on page 179 that my Mom submitted. Did you see it? Different seasonings so a different taste, but still, food items you would have in the house…

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Stacy July 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I had not seen it, but I have now. One of the recipes I consulted before I made mine also called for celery seed, but I don’t have any. Perhaps if we get more cucumbers after this batch is gone I will be more adventurous!

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susan from food blogga July 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Gosh, those pickles look soooo good. I seriously love pickles, all types. I love the sweetness of bread and butter pickles, the crunch of gherkins, and the tang of dills. Why haven’t I ever made them? That’s gotta change.

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Stacy July 1, 2010 at 10:44 pm

You probably read a recipe that required too many steps and thought it sounded like a pain! I couldn’t believe how easy these were.

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Birch July 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

My favorite part of making jelly was watching the wax sealing the top.

Another almost-painless way to start canning is tomatoes. You can them in hot water and if they seal, they’re good. Canning tongs are nice, but you really just need a big pot and a box of jars (new lids if you get second hand).

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Stacy July 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

That part I also remember.

Tomatoes are my plan to start — if they ever develop flowers. Sniffle. I have jars!

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Ashley July 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm

These are in the fridge! I made this variety, minus the sugar, because I have no white sugar and another version with a few more spices. Can’t wait to try them!

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Stacy July 20, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Excellent! I’m looking forward to reading about the results. =)

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Kathy June 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

These were really good, even though I had no coriander! Made them anyway!

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Jennifer August 11, 2012 at 11:42 am

I’ve made/canned jam, applesauce, peaches, pears … and I’ve never killed anyone! If I’ve done it, and no one has been stricken with botulism, then you should be totally fine. :D
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Debbie July 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I love pickles too and have made them several times. Your recipe sounds good and I will be sure to try it :) Have you ever tried putting a few habanero peppers in the mix? Not only does it give the pickles a bite but the peppers are even hotter than before being pickled. Yes I know no one in their right mind would want this but my husband loves them :)
Thank you :)

Reply

Stacy July 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Hi Debbie, I have tried putting chile peppers in there, but not habaneros! Our CSA gives us assorted hot peppers, but we’re cautious after my husband didn’t know how hot they were, sliced them bare-handed, and had burning hands for hours and hours.

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