It’s time to make the pickles. Every summer for the past few years I have been making pickles. These are fresh pickles that you keep in the refrigerator.
I have tried several times to make canned pickles but we just never liked the soft and sometimes mushy texture you get from canning and although the idea of eating home made pickles in the middle of winter is very appealing, I never had any luck with them. Then I happened along a recipe that I tweaked a bit and created these “perfect for the summertime” Dill Pickle Chips.
Making these pickles is very easy but it is a two day process. This is the recipe and method I have used and it works for me!
(Let me include this disclaimer: I am not an authority on the process of canning. Please consult the canning section of any good cook book or research the topic online. I am simply explaining how I make my pickles.)
On Day One I slice the cumbers and prepare them with salt to sit overnight in the refrigerator so that on Day Two I can prepare the brine and put them in the jars.
I suggest making a small batch to start to see if you like them. But, I would be shocked if you didn’t! To begin, I start with between 17 and 20 small pickling size cucumbers. Some years I have great success growing my own but most of the time I pick them up at the Farmer’s Market. Fresh and firm cumbers work best and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to make them.
Dill Pickle Chips
3 to 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers, 3 to 5 inches long (17 to 20)
1/2 cup Pickling or Kosher Salt
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons sugar
dill weed, dill seed, black peppercorns, garlic cloves
Wash cucumbers well scrubbing gently to remove any spines. Remove both ends of cucumber and slice as thin as possible. Layer slice in a crock or a non-metal bowl, sprinkling the salt over each layer. Cover the cucumber slices with ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 10 to 12 hours. Wash 4 pint size jars in hoot soapy water, rinse. Keep hot till needed and wash lids and bands.
In a large sauce pan or pot, combine vinegar, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Drain cucumber slices and discard the brine. Place 1 peeled garlic clove in each jar. Pack the drained slices into 1 jar at a time. Add about 1/8 teaspoon of dill seed, dill weed, and black peppercorns to each jar. Add the boiling vinegar mixture to each jar to cover leaving approximately 1/4 inch head space in the jar. Release the trapped air. Wipe rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth. Attach lids and bands. Date the top of the jars with a permanent marker and store in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks. Makes approximately 4 pints.
Day One: When you are ready to make the pickles, scrub them up in warm, soapy water and rinse really well. Set them to dry on a clean dish towel.
With each cucumber, I make sure to take off both ends and discard. I also use a vegetable peeler to peel away any parts of the skin than have blemishes.
Use a sharp knife that you are comfortable using and slice into very thin “chips”.
Sprinkle the bottom of the bowl with Kosher Salt and then set a layer of cucumber chips on the bottom of the bowl. Then sprinkle the tops of that layer with the Kosher Salt. You will be salting each layer as you go so that the top side and the bottom side of each cucumber chip is “touching” salt as they rest in the bowl. I slice, layer and salt as I go. I prefer to hand slice all of my cucumbers. I used the Food Processor to slice my cucumbers once but I though they were too thick. I actually enjoy hand slicing them (very therapeutic) and I think this makes a “prettier” and more hand made looking pickle. And they honestly taste better!
Your pickle chips should look like this when you are done.
They will now need to be covered with ice and then set them in your refrigerator over night.
Day Two: Wash your canning jars in hot soapy water and rinse them well. It is always best to sterilize your jars to be safe. Six jars, rings, and lids should be enough…and most likely you will only end up using 4 for this small sized batch.
After you clean your jars, take your bowl of cucumber chips out of the refrigerator and remove any ice that has not melted. Stir the chips around in the bowl of salty water. Do not rinse your cucumber chips. I use a canning funnel to place the cucumber chips into the clean jars. Using a slotted spoon or your impeccably clean hands, remove the chips from the brine and fill the jars to the top careful not to “pack” them in too tightly.
In a pot on the stove, mix together the vinegar, water, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a full boil and let boil for about 1 minute. Then turn off the heat.
While you are waiting for the brine to come to a boil, add approximately 1/8 of a teaspoon each of the black peppercorns, dill weed, and dill seed to each jar. Peel and cut about 4 cloves of garlic into 2 or 3 pieces and add two or 3 pieces of the garlic to each jar.
After the brine has come to a boil, using the canning funnel, ladle the hot brine into each jar. Place a lid on top and securely fasten the rings to the jars. I like turn each jar upside down and gently shake to help distribute the garlic, pepper, and dill in the jars.
Set on the counter to cool, write the date on the lid with a Sharpie pen and then place in the refrigerator.
These pickles MUST be kept in the refrigerator. They will keep in the refrigerator for approximately 1 month but they usually do not last that long. :)
Little things I have learned along the way:
1. Canning jars work best. Last year I made them in small plastic containers which worked but they just were not the same.
2. Use Kosher or Pickling Salt. Do not use regular table salt.
3. Use a plastic or glass bowl. (Do not use a metal bowl.)
4. I just hold the box of Kosher Salt in my hand and shake directly from the box. The recipe calls for approximately 1/2 cup of Kosher Salt. You can pre-measure first and then sprinkle from your measuring cup if you like.
5. I have left the sliced cumbers/salt/ice mixture in the refrigerator for longer than overnight because I just couldn’t get to them and the batch turned out fine. The point is to let the cucumbers sit in the salt and cold temperatures long enough to do their magic.
6. Get yourself a canning funnel. It really helps make the job easier and neater. It’s safer too when it’s time to ladle the hot brine into the jars.
7. I have successfully doubled and tripled this recipe when I want to make a bigger batch.
8. People really love these pickles. I make and give them away to friends and neighbors. Kids especially really seem to love them and there are a few that I like to give their own personal jar.
I have somewhat of devoted following of pickle lovers who wait each year for their jar or two of pickles.
It’s kind of nice. I have fans. Pickle fans.
So in addition to responding to “Hey Cheese Lady”,
in the summertime, I also respond to “Hey Pickle Lady.” .
I have been called worse things. :)
I am linking this post up with Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum. So many new recipes available there. Stop by!