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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