From The Garden To The Jar – How To Make Homemade Pickles

Garden Recipes

From The Garden To The Jar – How To Make Homemade Pickles

Introduction

It’s the middle of the summer and your home garden is at its peak. Your cucumber vine is producing more cucumber than you know what to do with! Sure cucumbers are great, but what are you to do with so many? Why not make some pickles? Crunchy and full of flavor, pickles not only go great with many dishes such as burgers and sandwiches, but are also incredibly easy make.

 

Selecting your Ideal Cucumbers

kirby cucumbers

While pickling can be done with any type of cucumber, (or most any vegetable) we recommend Kirby Cucumbers for their thick skin that and crisp texture than can withstand the acidity of the vinegar, yet still absorb that zesty, sweet and sour flavor. Any type of cucumber will do however.

Preparing the Brine

Once you have selected your ideal pickling cucumbers, you will need to prepare the brine; this is the juice you will be jarring your pickles in. The following are the ingredients and cooking equipment needed to create brine.

*Amount of ingredients needed for each makes 2 quart sized jars

Ingredients:

  • 2 ⅔ cups of water

  • 1 ⅓ cups of vinegar

  • 2/3 teaspoon of sugar

  • 1 ⅓ tablespoons of kosher salt

Equipment:

  • Stovetop

  • Medium to large pot

  • Measuring cup

  • Stirring spoon

 

Pour in the vinegar, sugar, salt and water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Give it a good stir so that the sugar and salt dissolve. Once the ingredients are all blended, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.

Seasonings

pickles with dill, salt and peppercorns

Now that the brine is complete it is time to gather to spices and seasonings to give your pickles some flavor. One of the more common pickle flavors, dill requires some relatively easy-to-obtain herbs and spices. However, there are countless varieties of pickles out there with a whole bunch of different herbs, spices and seasonings need. The following is a list of some more common pickle varieties and the seasonings required. Don’t let this limit you however. Get creative and experiment with what you have in your kitchen. Perhaps you could create a whole different variety of pickles.

*Amount of ingredients needed for each makes 2 quart sized jars

Dill:

  • 6 cloves of garlic

  • 4 teaspoons of dill seed

  • 7 kernels of peppercorn

Bread and Butter

  • 2 teaspoons of celery seed

  • 3 teaspoons of mustard seed

  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric

  • 1 finely chopped sweet onion.

Spicy

  • 1 chopped jalapeno pepper

  • 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes

  • 6 cloves of garlic

Whatever seasonings/spices you choose, simply just add them to the brine and give it a good stir. You now have pickle juice.

From Cucumbers to Pickles

pickle jar

      Now that you have your pickle juice ready, it is time to transform your cucumbers into pickles. Decide how you want to slice your pickles. Pickle spears simply require cutting a cucumber into quarters lengthwise while chips involve thin slices of cucumbers either ridged or smooth. To make it really simple, you could just leave the cucumber whole. It is recommended however to cut them up in some form or another as to let the brine soak in to the cucumbers to give it that bold, zesty flavor. Once you have your cucumbers prepared, simply fill each jar with the cucumbers and pour in the brine so that the cucumbers are fully submerged. Place and tighten the lid on each jar and put them in the fridge to cool for a day or two. This will give the cucumbers to soak in the brine and develop into pickle.

Storage and Shelf Life

pickles in a jar

Pickles should be jarred and stored in the refrigerator. Just make sure you seal tight the lid each time you open the jar and your pickles should be good for about 4-5 weeks. For an increased shelf life, pickle jars can be boiled for about 5 minutes and then canned. This will give it an increased shelf life of about a year but does however require a little bit more work.

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