“Hey Erin! Can I ask you a question?.. How do YOU make cucumber pickles?”… My answer: “I don’t”.
Like most newbie picklers, my emergence into the world of pickling started with the classic dill pickle. Overly enthusiastic about my new found hobby (I think I actually may have considered dropping out of graduate school to start a pickling company called ‘Dilly Beans’), I tried loads of different cucumber pickle varieties: zesty pickles, Old Bay pickles, dilly mustard pickles, you name it. Soggy and not quite right pint of cucumber pickles after pint (not to add steam burn after steam burn), I grew tired and a little discouraged by the whole homemade dill pickle idea/fad. Meanwhile, I was having great success putting up other veggie pickles. One night after a pickle back/tini… or four, I began thinking… why try to achieve dill pickle greatness (the crunch, the brine, the zest, etc.) when it’s already been done? I’m probably never going to hear the end of this and will be shamed in the pickle world forever, but here it goes… I Erin A. Urquhart LOVE store bought, chemical laden, food color additive dill pickles! Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest…
Until about a week ago I had pretty much given up and was obeying two pickle rules: 1) stop trying to achieve the perfect cucumber pickle and 2) don’t make anymore fridge pickles (my small fridge + my need/want for some duration of shelf life). Hard up for a pickling session and seduced by these adorable little light green cucumbers from Wake Robin Farm I gave in and threw my pickle rule #1 out the window. Speaking of windows, I don’t know about you but the idea of using a water bath canner or oven to sterilize glass jars in 95F heat (plus humidity) in a 3rd floor, closet size, without air conditioning kitchen doesn’t exactly sound like my idea of fun. Logical solution: fridge pickles. So much for pickle rule #2. Le sigh. Here’s a quick spicy dill pickle recipe that is not only modifiable but super easy to follow. On the topic of achieving the perfect crispy dill pickle, I’ve heard that adding fresh grape leaves to the jar helps preserve the crunch without having to use any “crisper” additives.
- ~2 lbs pickling cucumbers (small- kept either whole, speared, or sliced)
- 2 cups white or apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 habanero peppers (optional)
- 2 Tbsp pickling/sea salt
- 6 fresh dill sprigs
- 4 garlic cloves
- In a medium-sized, non-ionized pot combine water, vinegar, salt, and peppercorns. Bring brine to a boil.
- Meanwhile pack the cucumbers and the remainder of your ingredients into 2 sterilized quart or 4 pint jars.
- Pour brine mixture over cucumbers (covering cucumbers completely).
- Cap jars, and store in fridge for at least 2 weeks before consuming.