Does it get more Southern or more “summer” than picklin’ something? I don’t think so.
Andrew and I have planted and maintained a vegetable garden since we got married 7 years ago, and our cucumber plant is the star of the show right now! Even eating and giving away cukes to neighbors, I was still left with a ton this past week. It just seemed right to make some pickles!
Now, before you get all “Hey Betty Crocker!” on me… I do not know how to legit can anything. I’d like to learn, but my go-to methods of storing food are the fridge and the freezer for now. So, don’t be intimidated! If I can make pickles, so can you. (And if you are a tried and true canner, will you play with me for an afternoon?)
A few things to know if you’ve never fridge/freezer canned:
- You can reuse jars, but you need to buy new lids and tops every time. Ball or Garden Harvest make all the supplies you need.
- Most pickled items or jams can be kept in the fridge for 3 months or the freezer for one year. This is where it differs from real canned food which can be stored forever, relatively.
- It’s a good idea to do smaller individual jars for fridge/freezer canning. Because the shelf life is shorter, you don’t want huge half-gallons of things that will go bad before you can eat it all.
- The timing and steps for freezer canning are important, especially when using Pectin (thickener). So have a good understanding of the process before you dive in because it’s hard to stop in the middle.
Now for the pickles…
Because I had never done this before, I started by collecting a few recipes. I ultimately went with the classic Ball dill pickle recipe because I figured it was probably fool proof and easy. When I see how these come out, I will probably play with spices and ingredients the next go ’round.
This pack included dill weed, dill seed, mustard, and minced garlic. As a beginner, I liked knowing this combination of spices was a foolproof in the taste department while I learned the process. After choosing this spice pack, the recipe was easy!
- Cut cukes to fit your jars. I did spears and slices.
- Drop jars and lids/tops in boiling water for 1-2 minutes to sterilize. Set on clean towel to cool. *Be very careful transferring these! I use rubberized tongs and big oven mitts because there is always splashing.*
- Combine 2 1/4 cups water, 2 1/4 cup white vinegar, and spices in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- While spices are cooking, pack jars with cukes.
- When spices are finished, use a ladel to spoon the liquid and spices into the jars. Fill jars to the top. *Again, be careful. Lots of hot glass and splash going on here.
- Put your lids and tops on each jar, cool on the counter for about 5 minutes, and store in the fridge.
- Ready to eat in as little as 3 days, although some say letting them sit for up to 3 weeks is best!
If pre-packaged spices are not your thing, I wanted to share a few of my collected recipes for you! I love the idea of trying peppercorn, onions, slivered carrots, and hot peppers next time!
- No Crumbs Left – Y’all, Teri’s blog is amazing. Her food is beautiful, healthy, and do-able. So many recipes I want to try, and her pickles look equally delish!
- Aren’t friend of a friend of a friend recipes the best? Dave Kulp’s recipe is written for a quart but can be altered to make a pint.
- This is a spicy pickle recipe! I love how she uses honey in place of the sugar!
I’d hear about and see what you are canning… pickles and all! A friend and I are setting up a date to pick blackberries ASAP because my freezer jam stock is running low. You can click here to check out our family’s recipe for strawberry freezer jam… it is the stuff dreams are made of. Tag me (#refiningcotten) and show me what you’re up to! Thanks for following along!