Saturday, July 26, 2014

Easy Dill Pickles

My family loves pickles….of any kind!!! I'm pretty sure that all three of my kids have inherited their "sour" cravings from me.  I can trace my pickle-loving habit all the way back to when I was a little girl… grandmother made the best pickled okra! She always had an abundance of jarred okra every summer and was more than happy to share. 

There has been a big resurgence lately in home canning. I've been amazed by the large amount of supplies, pre-made mixes and vintage glass jars that are now available at local stores.  Even though I'm highly fascinated by the unique skill of "old fashioned" canning, I usually don't have the extra time that it involves.  When I came across this recipe for refrigerated pickles, I knew it would be the perfect quick way to get that yummy fresh pickle taste….with little effort.

Of course this recipe is so simple that my nine year old daughter was able to jump right in and help. Her favorite part was stuffing the sliced cucumbers into the glass jars and mixing up the brine.  I adapted the recipe by using fresh sprigs of Dill and also minced garlic. I also left out the red pepper flakes since I knew my kids would be the first to devour the pickles. 
I purchased (from the canning section in Wal-Mart) a set of 9 "Pint & Half" Ball Jars. I thought this would be the perfect size to fit the length of the pickling cucumbers and have a good amount of pickle servings per jar. (It averaged out to be around 10 spears in each jar.) One of the best things about these jars is the ability to wash them when you are done and reuse them for the next batch of pickles!!! It is a never ending cycle in our home!

Easy Dill Pickles
adapted from Kansas City Mamas

12 pickling cucumbers, sliced into fourths
5 tsp crushed garlic (or 5 peeled garlic cloves)
2 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
fresh Dill (at least 5-6 sprigs)

6 tbsp kosher salt
4 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

Place 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp peppercorns and 1 sprig of fresh Dill at the bottom of five (pint & half) jars. Divide sliced cucumbers evenly into each jar. In a medium sized bowl or Pyrex measuring glass mix together 6 tbsp salt, 4 tbsp sugar and 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar. Mix together until the sugar and salt are dissolved.  Then add 4 cups of cold water and mix well. Pour mixture over cucumbers until all of the cucumbers are submerged.  Place lids on jars and screw tightly. Place into the refrigerator overnight. Pickles will be ready to eat the next day and should last for up to a month. 

I made this batch of pickles for the 4th of July holiday so I added a little festive ribbon to the top of the jars.  They made great gifts for my friends and family. We all enjoyed these perfectly seasoned crisp pickles with our potluck barbecue. You can leave them in spears or slice them into rounds to add to sandwiches. Either way these "Easy Dill Pickles" will not last long!!!

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