One thing I’ve noticed about living in Europe is that pickles tend to be sweeter than they are in the States. In fact, I haven’t found a brand of pickles in London that I like yet. So one day, I decided I would try to make them myself so that I could have them just as salty and spicy as I’d like.
This recipe for refrigerator dill pickles was surprisingly easy. I got some beautiful cucumbers from the Sunday farmer’s market in Kentish Town, then I went straight home to prepare them so they would be nice and fresh. After some cutting, water boiling, and spice adding, the cucumbers went into the fridge where they stayed for a few days before turning into pickles. The end result was delicious – spicy and salty just as I like them!
Makes 2 pint jars
- 1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (fresh – Persian are good size)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons dill seed (or mustard seed)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Wash and dry the cucumbers. Trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, which contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. Leave the pickles whole, cut them into spears, or slice them into coins, as preferred.
- Add the spices to the jars, dividing the garlic, dill seed (or mustard seed), bay leaf and red pepper flakes between the pint jars: 2 smashed cloves, 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes per jar.
- Pack the pickles into the jars. Trim the ends if they stand more than 1/2 inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing the cucumbers.
- Boil the pickling brine. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to within 1/2-inch of the top. You may not use all the brine.
- Remove air bubbles by gently tapping the jars against the counter a few times. Top off with more pickling brine if necessary.
- Tighten the lids on the jars.
- Let the jars cool to room temperature and store the pickles in the fridge. After at least 48 hours they can be eaten. The refrigerator pickles will last about two or three weeks in the fridge once opened.
- Can use this recipe to pickle other vegetables, including carrots, tomatoes, beans, okra, garlic, onions, etc.
- Experiment with other spices including: tumeric, black peppercorns, sumac, cloves, or others. Can also add a teaspoon of sugar.