August 7, 2010 by Flora Dawn
My family loves dill pickles. So I decided I should give homemade pickles a try. WOW! They are so good, almost beyond words good. They are crunchy, spicy, and full of flavor. Truly so much better than anything you can get a the grocery store. They remind me of fancy deli-style pickles, only better.
I have tried several different recipes, and our favorites are the refrigerator dill pickles. I have found that the recipes that just require refrigeration, as opposed to processing, stay crisp and fresh tasting.
This particular version is our family’s absolute favorite, we think it has just the right amount of dill, garlic and spice, but feel free to add or reduce the garlic, red pepper flakes or dill to suit your tastes.
Although I am sure you’ll enjoy these, maybe even too much to share, they make great gifts for friends and family.
Making pickles is rather easy and a fun summertime activity to do with the kids or grandkids, even my three year old likes to help. But of course, there are few tips that will help you create the best pickles possible.
Hints for the perfect pickles:
- Always use the freshest cucumbers possible. If you don’t have a garden, use the farmer’s market, local produce stand, etc to get the freshest pickling cucumbers possible.
- Use pickling salt. It’s cheap, has a long shelf life, and is available at regular grocery stores.
- Most stores with bulk foods have dill seed, pickling spice and red pepper flakes at bargain prices. You’ll only need a very small amount of each, probably less than $1 altogether.
- Cut thin slices off both ends of the cucumbers before pickling. Technically, it is the blossom end that has an enzyme that may cause the pickles to soften, but it can be difficult to tell which end had the blossom, so I just make a small slice off both ends.
- Refrigerator pickles need refrigerated 🙂 These aren’t the processed variety, so they have to be stored in the refrigerator.
- Wait 10 days before eating. I know, this is the hardest tip to follow.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
I prefer to slice mine into spears and I tightly pack them into jars; if I find that this recipe makes the perfect amount of brine if I do it this way. When I sliced them into rounds I needed to double the brine in order to adequately cover the pickles. If you don’t have glass canning jars, a glass dish with an air-tight lid will work as well.
- 12 3-4 inch long pickling cucumbers whole, speared, or sliced into rounds
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 1 /2 cups roughly chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 8 cloves garlic, chopping is optional
- 1 1 /2 TB pickling salt
- 1 TB pickling spice
- 1 1/2 tsp dill seed
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- approximately 4 clean jars and lids, I find that wide mouth pint size jars work the best
- In a large non-reactive bowl, combine water and salt; stir until salt is dissolved. add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Remove the cucumbers from the bowl and place, tightly packed, into clean jars. Make sure each jar has at least a sprig of dill and a clove of garlic. Ladle the liquid over the pickles, making sure to cover them entirely. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for 10 days before eating.