The Guaranteed Easiest Way to Make Your Own Pickles
I’m a dill pickle addict. Once that seal has been popped on my jar of Claussen dills, I usually take care of that jar within 24 hours. Pickles aren’t cheap, however, so I went for a DIY remedy that tastes pretty darn good (and you won’t need any canning abilities to make these homemade pickles.)
Pickle-making isn’t sexy, and it won’t get you any special perks beyond the joys of eating your own pickles. But it’s cheap, quick, and gives you a sense of accomplishment that you won’t get from throwing an overpriced jar into your grocery cart. Here’s a recipe that that will take care of your pickle cravings with little money and even less time:
Grab your cukes. Pickle connoisseurs will try to tell you that you can’t use the overgrown ones to make pickles. You can, it just won’t be quite the same. If you don’t mind eating pickled seeds (I happen to love them), there is no reason you can’t use up some of those giant, longer-than-your-arm cucumbers in your pickling recipe. If you don’t like the mushy insides, you can always cut the cukes in half lengthwise and scrape out the seedy pulp with a spoon. No hard feelings. (Note: Be sure to wash the cukes and scrub them well or rinse them in a veggie wash – you will be leaving the skins on for flavor and texture.)
Cut them. This isn’t rocket science. You can slice them in any manner you choose. (I prefer short, stubby pickles for snacking, but you can slice them thin or in hamburger sized slices, as well.) If the cucumbers are small enough, you can leave them whole (but pickling time will be longer.)
Prepare your brine. Simply boil 3 cups water (bottled is preferred), 1/8 cup kosher or sea (not iodized) salt, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Once it has come to a full boil, remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature (you don’t want to boil your cucumbers.)
Add your seasonings. While the liquid is boiling, you can begin packing the jar as full of sliced cucumbers as you can fit (with room at the top). Then add your seasonings, which includes 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (you can use less, if desired), ¼ tsp mustard seed, 1/2 tsp black pepper (whole peppercorns work well), and finely chopped garlic cloves (5 or more, depending on how strong you want them.) I also add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and will occasionally throw in a small jalapeno pepper for extra kick!
Fill and seal. Now that your brine has cooled, pour it over the pickles until the jar is full. Screw on your lid (if you’re using a recycled spaghetti sauce jar) or your canning lid and ring (no need to pressure seal.) Now just stick these guys in the fridge for a minimum of 5 days for awesome pickle flavor! They’ll keep in the fridge for weeks (although they are usually gone within days.)
Any questions? (This recipe is an adaptation from several old recipes I found, and one really great one on Recipezaar. Feel free to throw in veggies and spices of your choosing, including onions, carrots, and peppers.)
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