How to Make Your Own Homemade Pickles

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The pickle “season” is all about the cucumber season. Namely, those thinner skinned, bumpy, crunchy, cute little ‘cukes’ known as Kirby cucumbers. Now is the time when you’ll be able to find lots of really fresh Kirbys.

And what you can do with those Kirbys is to make some of the tastiest pickles ever with very little effort.

Now, I’ve always loved pickles, but never thought that I could make them myself. I admired those who were able to can veggies, but it just seemed like too much of a learning curve.

And then one day a friend told me how easy it is to make refrigerator pickles in no time flat. So I gave it a try and soon was in pickle heaven!

The beauty of this method is that no canning skills at all are required — just canning jars. And after a couple of days in the fridge they’ll taste just as good as any old-fashioned kosher dill out of a big barrel.

If you don’t have any glass canning jars (like the Ball brand), you’ll need to get at least six. Even though we’re not officially “canning,” the canning jar is the perfect container. Plus, they look really cool and will make you appear as kitchen proficient as Martha Stewart when you show off your pickle prowess.

Aside from being a very low-calorie food, cucumbers are pretty high in certain minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Plus, you can add some other veggies, such as carrots to give your creation even more nutritional value. And if you’re concerned about the salt, the potassium in the cukes helps balance sodium intake.

So give this a try and I think you’ll be very surprised at how delicious they are!

NOTE: Before you slice your Kirbys, since we’re leaving the skin on, give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush under running water. Another plus to Kirbys is that they are almost never waxed. You never want to use a waxed cuke to make a pickle.

Super easy refrigerator pickle recipe

The fresher the cuke, the better the pickle you’ll get. Also, fresher Kirbys have fewer seeds, and will be much crunchier.  I know you’ll want to taste them as soon as possible, but try to give them at least two days to “pickle-ate” in the fridge first.

Ingredients:

  • At least 6 Kirby cucumbers sliced lengthwise into quarters. (Take your cucumber quarters and fit them into the jars, packing them in tight. If you’re running short on Kirbys, add some quartered and peeled carrot slices to your jars.)
  • 1 ½ cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of cane sugar (if you like your pickles sweeter, just add more sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • Spices: Whole mustard seeds, celery seeds, whole black peppercorns, whole bay leaf (optional — fresh dill, coriander seeds)

Mix together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and add a generous teaspoon of each of the seed spices listed above, plus the same amount of black peppercorns.

Bring the spice, sugar, vinegar mixture to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Make sure the sugar is melted and mix the liquid around a bit.

Meanwhile, poke a few bay leaves into each cucumber-filled jar. If you’re using dill, fit some sprigs of that into the jars as well.

Let the brine mix cool down for about ten minutes, then spoon it into each pickle jar, leaving a little room at the top. The goal is to try and evenly distribute the seeds and peppercorns from the pot into each jar.

Put the lid on, stick in the fridge and that’s it! The hardest part is waiting a couple of days to taste them.

Now, these should last at least a month in the refrigerator (you can write the date you made them on the jar lid). But it’s unlikely that will ever be a problem!

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