I love me some pickles. Dill, bread & butter, gherkins, you name it. I’ve had it in my mind to attempt to make my own pickles for quite some time. So when I saw some Kirby cucumbers at the farmer’s market this weekend, I picked up some. (About five pounds worth) After researching different pickling recipes, I decided to try out two different recipes: Garlic Dill and Spicy Bread & Butter.

The Garlic Dill recipe is the traditional method where it is pickled in jars that go through the water bath canning process. I’ll have to wait a few weeks to try them, but from how they looked/smelled I think they’ll turn out great. Here’s the recipe I used:

Garlic Dill Pickles
Makes approximately 8 pints (total yield varies depending on size of cucumbers)
2 overflowing quarts of pickling cucumbers, sliced into fat coins*
4 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
6 tablespoons pickling salt
16 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar (2 teaspoons total)
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar (8 teaspoons total)
½ teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (4 teaspoons total)

Wash and slice the cucumbers.
In a large sauce pot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.
Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don’t want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight.
Pour the brine into the jar, leaving ½ inch headspace.
Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
When 10 minutes are up, promptly remove the jars from the pot and allow them to cool on the countertop. When the jars are cool, check the seals (by pushing/tapping on the lid).
Pickles can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

*I use slices because I find that they are easiest to pack into jars. However, you could also choose to make spears, halves or pickle the cucumbers whole.

The other recipe that I used was for Spicy Bread & Butter pickles. These have a sweet yet tart, taste that ends with a spicy finish. Deelicious! They are a bit easier to make, since you do not have to deal with the water bath part, but they don’t last as long. I made a small batch of these, since I am the only pickle lover in the house. Here’s the recipe:

Spicy Bread & Butter Pickles
Makes 4 cups of pickles, filling a 1-quart jar
1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick — “pickling” or kirby cucumbers work best here
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pickling salt
1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the fridge. They will begin tasting pickled in just a couple hours.

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