I thoroughly enjoy pickles. I’m that guy subtly eyeing the pickle on your plate to see whether or not you’ll eat it. If you don’t, I may just swoop in and snatch it away. As a result, I’ve come to realize that the best pickles in my opinion are cold pickled and therefore require refrigeration. These are the ones that you might find at the deli counter or in a cooler at the grocery store. Then there are the other kinds of pickles that need no refrigeration. Some of them are canned properly using heat, so that’s fine, but the cucumber will never be quite as crisp a cold pickle. Then there are the bright florescent yellow kind, which are extremely sour, full of preservatives, and just not all that crunchy.
The cold pickling process is not only easy, but it yields the crunchiest pickles. When I gave making dill pickles a try, the results were fantastic. The pickles were firm, had a great snap, not too sour, and not too salty. It is important, however, to use white (non-flavored) vinegar and the proper cucumbers. Not just any cucumber will produce the best pickles. Look for signs that say, “pickling cucumbers,” or “for pickling.” While you could use any kind of cucumber, something like an English cucumber, will never produce an especially crunchy pickle.
Makes about one pound of pickles at roughly 85 calories for the whole jar.
- 16 oz. (1 pound) of pickling cucumbers
(for this recipe, I used 12 oz. of green cucumbers and 4 oz. of yellow cucumbers for variety)
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 1 cup of cold water
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
(or a couple of sprigs of fresh dill)
- 1 teaspoon yellow, whole mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 32 oz. (4 cups) pickling or canning jar
- Measuring cup, tablespoon, and teaspoon measurements
- Cutting board
- Mix the vinegar and water in a measuring cup.
- Add in all of the other spices (garlic, dill, mustard seed, salt, and sugar) to the jar.
- Pour 2/3 of the water and vinegar mixture into the jar.
- Cover the jar and shake vigorously until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Wash and cut the cucumbers at least in half, lengthwise, or continue cutting each half into spears (spears fit into the jar easier).
- Place the cucumber pieces into the jar, making sure to arrange them so that they all fit. They can fit tightly, but try not to bruise the cucumbers.
- Add in the remaining water and vinegar mixture until the liquid reaches about 1/2 an inch from the top of the jar.
- Cover the jar, shake or turn over a few times, and then place in the fridge for at least 2 days.
- After that, enjoy fresh, homemade pickles, whenever you want! They should last a couple months at least as long as they are kept in the fridge. Just as a side note, you may want to lightly rinse off a pickle before eating it if there is too much dill stuck to pickle.