Fall is officially here and it’s starting to show. Our maple tree is turning red, the plum tree is turning too. We love autumn, especially here on the coast. The weather is mild and sunny and most of the tourists are back home in school. The other beautiful part of fall is the abundance of produce that ripens at the end of summer/early fall. Especially cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans. The cooler weather also makes pickling a little less exhausting at the cottage.
Dave does a whole lot of pickling at his job. It started when he worked at Luna Red SLO. They serve pickles with almost every dish and utilize the process to keep food costs low while using up everything they purchase. It’s a tasty way to use up those veggies that are starting to over ripen. He’s carried those techniques with him to Back Porch Bakery, serving house made pickles with sandwiches for lunch.
Pickles are full of vitamins and minerals and are often consumed to aid digestion as well as other ailments. Check out this article that goes in depth on the various forms and benefits of pickles from around the world.
We tend to make several jars at a time, storing one in the fridge (all three of us love them! Yes, even the Sprout!) and the rest in our pantry. I try to make enough to last us until next year. While I love growing and using our own cucumbers, I also buy them this time of year when they are on sale almost everywhere. We like the “Kirby” and “Persian” varieties the best.
The recipe below is for dill pickles. I also make bread and butter and have experimented with spicy dill. These are our go to pickles and they have a pretty consistent flavor. The recipe makes 3 pint size jars and can easily be doubled for a larger batch. (I double or even triple it if I need to.)
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Leave a comment below and tell me how yours turned out!
2.5 pounds of pickling cucumbers (try to avoid anything with a thick, waxy skin. Any other kind will do as well as other vegetables like carrots or greenbeans.)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2.5 cups of water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. kosher salt (Do not use table or iodized salt, it has additives that will change your pickles.)
1 bunch fresh dill
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tsp. dill seed
1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
¾ tsp. red chili flakes
3, pint size mason jars with lids and rings
Wash your jars, lids and rings in hot soapy water and rinse well. Set your oven to the “warm” setting or 180 degrees. Place your rinsed jars in the oven until ready to fill. Place your lids and rings in a small pot of simmering water until ready to use.
Wash and prepare your cucumbers by trimming the ends and then slicing into ¼ inch thick rounds or quartering them lengthwise to create spears. Make sure your spears are no more than 4 inches long so that they can fit into the jars.
In a 2 quart saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once your pickle brine starts to simmer, carefully pull your jars from the oven and place on a towel. In each jar, add:
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp. dill seed
• ½ tsp. black peppercorns
• ¼ tsp chili flakes
• 2 sprigs of fresh dill
Add your cucumbers to each jar, making sure to pack them tightly without smashing them. Add a sprig of fresh dill on top while leaving a ¼ headspace below the rim.
Slowly pour your boiling brine into each jar, over the cucumbers. Use a funnel if you need to. Make sure the veggies are covered in brine and that you still have a ¼ inch headspace.
Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. Place a lid on each jar and a ring. Gently tighten the ring.
If you plan on eating them soon, you’re all done! After they cool, store them in your refrigerator and enjoy for up to a month.
If you would like to store them longer, move on to canning. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. (The pot should be big enough to hold all three jars without touching each other and have few inches of clearance at the top.)
Carefully place your pickle jars into the boiling water using a jar lifter or rubber coated tongs and make sure there is at least an inch of water above the jars. Gently boil them for 10 minutes.
Carefully lift each jar out of the boiling water and place back on the towel to cool. Your jars should “pop” within the next half hour to signal that they have safely sealed. Any jars that don’t seal can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within the next month.