Monday, August 1, 2016

Sweet & Sour Dill Refrigerator Pickles

Hey friends, I am back! Although it probably won't last very long since baby girl is due to be here later this month and I am sure my cooking, photographing, and blogging time will be scarce once again.  We have been having an incredibly busy summer squeezing in lots of fun activities with little K, family visits and adventures, a quick getaway to Maine, and prepping for our baby's arrival soon!

We also grew our first successful veggie garden this summer.  Our yard has very sandy soil and gets full sunshine for at least 10 hours a day so our previous attempts went poorly.  For the past several years we have done a few potted plants on the deck just to have some fresh vegetables but this year big K suggested building a raised bed garden out of a large pallet.  He stapled fabric paper to the bottom, attached some support boards around the four sides and filled the whole pallet with great quality dirt/compost mix.  We planted cucumbers, scallions, lettuce, a selection of herbs, and lots of green beans.  A few weeks ago we made 10 pints of my delicious dilly beans with our very own beans and dill!

Last weekend the stack of fresh cucumbers was starting to pile up in the fridge and so I decided to try refrigerator pickles. When I was a kid my parents made and canned a big batch of amazing bread and butter pickles every summer.  I didn't think I would have enough cucumbers to bother with the whole canning process so I decided to give a new recipe a try.  I will have to track down that bread and butter pickle recipe for another year!  These pickles came out great.  The cucumbers stay super crunchy and have wonderful elements of both sweet and sour.  They are definitely more on the dill/sour side of pickles and less reminiscent of bread and butter but they do have a nice sweetness about them.  The combination of adding the onions, garlic, and various spices add nice complexity as well.  This recipe is so tasty and very easily scaled up or down, so whether you have a garden exploding with cucumbers or you would have a pick some up from the market, I really hope you give these pickles a try!

Sweet & Sour Dill Refrigerator Pickles

3 cups sliced pickling cucumbers, approx 1/8" thick
1 small onion, thinly sliced
small bunch of dill
3 small cloves garlic
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups cider or rice wine vinegar (good quality)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp pickling or sea salt

In a medium saucepan, stir the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt together and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat.  Once the sugar and salt are dissolved, remove from the heat, add the turmeric, and let the mixture cool while you prep the other ingredients.  Evenly distribute the garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns, celery seed and a few sprigs of dill between approximately 3 pint size (16oz) mason jars.  Layer the slices of cucumbers and onion into each jar and then pour over the pickling solution, filling to about 1/2" from the top of the jars.  Place lids and rings on the jars and refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.  The pickles should keep fresh in the refrigerator for approximately 2 months or longer.