August 01, 2009

I Crave Pickles at Night

I don't know why. I get cravings for salty things, like pickles or olives, at night. So I knew it was about time to try making my own pickles.

I recently got a book at the library about canning/preserving/pickling. The whole prospect was a little scary to me before. Let me just say right now that learning more about it only added to my fears. Sterilization? High acid vs. low acid foods? Hot packing? Testing the seal? Not to mention the dreaded botulism, which my husband thought I was making up!

So refrigerator pickles it is! And when my CSA came through with a big batch of pickling cucumbers and dill, I was more than ready.


I used a crinkle cutter for extra surface area. I had my doubts about the tool, but it was surprisingly easy to use!


Ready for the 'fridge, where they need to sit for five+ days.


Ready to eat! They're very flavorful--a bit spicy and garlicky. Yum!


Refrigerator Dill Pickles
adapted from Driftless Organics newsletter
4 3-to-4 inch pickling cucumbers
3/4 c water
1/2 c white vinegar
1/2 c chopped fresh dill
2 T and 2 t white sugar
1 1/2 t coarse salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped (or more)
1 t pickling spice
1/2 t celery seed
1/4 t red pepper flakes

Make sure your jar is very clean; wash in the dishwasher.

Mix together all the ingredients except the cucumbers in a large bowl or pitcher (to make pouring in the jar easier).

Slice the cucumbers however you'd like them. I think they're nice as coins. Layer a few in your jar, add some brine. Layer more in the jar, add some brine. When it's full, let sit out at room temperature (covered) for a few hours. Then put in the refrigerator. Taste one after 5 days to see if they're ready. They will last about a month refrigerated.

One note on the pickling spice: Instead of buying a pickling spice, I just used what I already had around: a bay leaf (broken), peppercorns, all spice berries, a few whole cloves and a bit of cracked cinnamon stick.

By the way--I am trying a sweet pickle recipe too. Stay tuned!

--

Speaking of CSA, here's an overview of what we got last week:



All Blue Potatoes
Broccoli
Cilantro
Cucumbers
Fresh Red Onion
Garlic
Green Beans
Zucchini
Hon Tsai Tai (an Asian cooking green, which I incidentally did not like very much)
Iceberg Lettuce (really good--not watery and slightly sweet)
Red Kale
Sunflower Oil
Pickling Cucumbers
Dill

It was a heap of food!

1 comment:

Betsy said...

Those pickles look really good! I'll have to try it...they look tasty and less intimidating than regular canning.

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