One of the first things I did when I arrived at my temporary home was make pickles. I was staying on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for two weeks to housesit the beautiful home of some friends who were away on vacation.
I know, pickling was kind of a weird priority. But I like to have good pickles around to munch on, and it’s a matter of pride that I haven’t actually bought pickles in at least two decades.
Fortunately, this particular recipe takes only 10 minutes to make and is ready to eat in just a couple of days. The recipe (below) is a variation on one that’s in my new book Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Smoke, Salt, and Store… (the Kindle version will be out September 5th and is available for pre-order now, the paperback is out now
These are hands-down my favorite pickles, the ones I always have some version of in my fridge. I left a couple of jars of them for my friends to enjoy when they get back.
Try them and let me know what you think:
Two Day Refrigerator Dill Pickles
The difference between fantastic and okay cucumber pickles is choosing small, firm cucumbers with few seeds. It’s not important that you use a pickling variety of cucumber, but do use only those that are not more than an inch in diameter and feel solid.
Makes 1 quart/2 pint jars (recipe can be multiplied)
2 pounds small, firm cucumbers
3 cups water
1/2 cup cider or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other non-iodized salt
1 tablespoon sugar or 2 teaspoons light honey (clover or wildflower works well)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2–4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2–3 dill flowerheads or 2 generous sprigs fresh dill leaves or 1 tablespoon dried dillweed
1. Cut a thin sliver off the flower end of the cucumbers (that’s opposite the stem end, but if you’re not sure, slice off both ends.) The end of the cucumber that once had the flower attached contains enzymes that can soften pickles, so slicing off that little bit can result in better, crunchier pickles.
2. Slice the cucumbers crosswise on a slight diagonal, making each piece 1/2 to 1-inch thick.
3. In small pot, bring the water, vinegar, salt, sugar or honey, and turmeric to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
4. Put the garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and dill into the bottom of a clean glass jar. Because these pickles are destined for the refrigerator, not the canner, you do not need to use canning jars.
5. Pack the cucumber chunks into the jar on top of the spices. You want the cucumbers to be packed in so tightly that they hold one another in place under the brine—keep adding until you can’t get one more in.
6. Pour the brine over the cucumbers. They should be completely covered by the liquid. Screw on the lid, and put your pickles-to-be in the refrigerator.
7. Wait 2 days for the flavor of the pickles to develop before tasting them (they’re even better after 4 days, but we almost never wait that long).
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