I am not sure why it took me so long to get to this blog. Most years, I grow cucumbers and get one before the vine is infested and dies. This year was the exception and yet I neglected to talk at all to this point about our successful crop and what we had to do to use it all (in addition to sharing with neighbors). Perhaps I was simply afraid to jinx our success.
We grew a small heirloom cucumber this year that was great for pickling (except for the few occasions where I missed one and it became too big for pickling). The larger ones we made into refrigerator pickles. My neighbor, Sue has this down to a science using mostly English cucumbers from the farmer's market. she has learned that adding tea and other ingredients keeps the pickle crisp even when very salty. My methods are more simple which is probably fine since I usually eat them the following day.
1 large cucumber
Rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar
Slice cucumber in rounds and place in plastic container. Cover with vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste along with sugar. Let sit several hours to overnight and enjoy.
But, I especially like to make canned dill pickles with just a little pepper to give them more flavor without overpowering my sandwich or bloody mary. Here is the basic canned recipe. I make the full amount of brine and keep the extra in the fridge. Then, I can pick the small cucumbers and can a jar each night until it is all used up. If the brine is already prepared, i can just do this on the side while preparing dinner.
The Perfect Dill Pickle
2 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
2 T. salt
3 lb. small cucumbers
4 garlic cloves
4 tsp. peppercorns
4 heads dill or 4 tsp. dill seed
4 cayenne peppers
In medium saucepan, bring vinegar, water and salt to boil until salt is dissolved. Fill 4 quart jars will cucumbers, garlic, peppers and spices. Pour brine over each jar, seal and boil in water bath 10 minutes.
Everything is gone in our garden now, but I still have beautiful canned jars on the shelf ready to enjoy all winter.
One Year Ago -