Good, Old Fashioned Summer Harvest Recipe: Crunchy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
This last spring, my husband and I were at a home improvement store and we got onto the topic of my old garden at our old house. I mentioned how much I missed my raised beds, my adorable little twig fence and arbor, and most of all I missed the perennial flowers I had spent hundreds of dollars on in 2012. I actually got so overwhelmed with emotion that I surprised myself and shed a tear in the lumber aisle – I had worked my ass off on that old yard and it was all gone. So I begged and begged my husband (who works about 70 hours a week) to take an afternoon and at least build me some planting beds so that I could have a garden again.
And he took pity on my soul, he did:
I immediately got to work planning and planting my garden – and I based how many plants I wanted of each vegetable based on the yield from the last time I planted a garden. But I made a pretty big rookie mistake. That last garden was in 2012, the hottest summer on record in the Chicago area. So when I thought I needed 18 pickling cucumber plants, I actually needed only about 8.
Yeah, in this cool, wet summer, they started coming in droves…
In sheer desperation, I turned to my internet friends for recipes:
— Michael Gray (@graywolf) July 11, 2014
Which was great! For about 48 hours until my next harvest was ready. Did I mention they were coming in droves?
So I bought this on Amazon, and the skies parted in jubilation. Really!!
And I spent the next 7 days canning something every. single. day.
Since my hubs made me the garden beds, and since I
had still have cucumbers coming out of my ass, I figured it was only fair that I try to make his favorite kind of pickles – Claussen’s Garlic Dills. It took a little experimentation, but this recipe is pretty darn close.
The bonus part? Fridge pickles are infinitely easier to make than canned/preserved pickles. Plus you need no special equipment. Just ingredients, jars, and your fridge. This recipe is adapted from the Refrigerated Dill Slices in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today (aff). Of all my cookbooks sitting on my shelf, this one DOESN’T sit on my shelf: it’s constantly on my counter. It’s that good.
Crunchy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
- 16 cups sliced pickling cucumbers (approx 5 pounds or 22-25 medium)
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 4 cups water (preferably filtered)
- 4 tbsp pickling or canning salt (not table salt), or more to taste
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 sprigs of washed fresh dill leaves plus 4 dill flower heads
- 4 tsp dill seeds
- 6 tsp mustard seeds
- 6 tsp whole peppercorns
- 16 cloves of fresh garlic
- Slice the pickles into disks - I used a mandoline to give them the wavy crinkle cut. Mandolines are a super-fast way to cut veggies, I highly recommend one! BE SURE to throw out the blossom end of the cucumbers, as they release an enzyme that will make the finished pickles soft. If you don't know which end is the blossom end, just throw out both ends - no worries!
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine water, vinegar, pickling salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Let the brine cool for 15 minutes.
- Thoroughly wash the 4 quart jars and lids with hot, soapy water. You don't need to sterilize them, because these pickles will stay in your refrigerator - they are not shelf stable.
- Place in each jar the following: -1 sprig of dill leaves plus one dill flower -1 tsp dill seeds -1½ tsp mustard seeds -1½ tsp whole peppercorns -Crush two cloves of garlic with a garlic press and slice 2 additional cloves of garlic. You'll have 4 cloves total per jar.
- Fill each jar with sliced cucumbers, leaving ¾ inch at the top. Pour or ladle the brine over the cucumbers, leaving ½ inch room at the top. Screw on lids, and put in your fridge. Allow at least 2 weeks for the cucumbers to marinate - or if you are impatient like me, wait at least 3-4 days before trying them. They really do get better with time!
- These will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
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