Since I’ve been fairly successful in growing cucumbers in my garden, I’ve made several batches of pickles to use them up. I believe I’ve had at least 12 cucumbers so far, and 10 have become pickles.
I wanted to start out simple and easy, so I chose Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles for my first attempt. I made two separate batches of these, reducing the amount of sugar in the second. I used large yellow onions, so I kind of eyeballed the amount of cucumber and onion to go with each batch of doubled brine. The pickles are ready as soon as they have cooled (although you can taste them while warm to test them out), so I’ve already finished two jars of these. I also gave a jar to a good friend, who declared them the best pickles she’s ever had. Overall, an A+ recipe for quick, easy, bread & butter pickles!
I got a little bit more adventurous for the next batch and made Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles. I used about 3 large cucumbers instead of 12 pickling cucumbers, cutting them in half first to shorten them and then into spears lengthwise. I made a couple of modifications in the process. First, I missed the dill seed when I browsed the recipe before I went to the grocery store, so I decided to just leave it out. Second, I doubled the amount of crushed red pepper as some of the comments suggest, because I love spicy. I chopped up the dill as the recipe directs, but I’m not sure I would do that again, since it’s a huge mess. These are ready after 10 days in the refrigerator, but I sampled them several times before the time was up, and they’re still pretty tasty. As it turns out, at least two of the cucumbers were bitter, so the resulting pickles are pretty bitter. The bitterness is going away though slowly, so maybe after another week or so I think they’ll be really good – bitter or not, I’ve been eating and enjoying them. I love spice, so I don’t think these are crazy hot, but I wouldn’t double the red pepper if you don’t like spicy food. I give this recipe an A-, definitely worth repeating with a couple more modifications.
My most recent attempt at pickles used a dill pickle recipe from a Ravelry friend, consisting simply of water, vinegar, salt, garlic, dill, and cucumbers. Having learned about the bitterness issue from my last batch, I actually tasted the cucumbers before pickling. I had two good and two bitter pickles, so I separated them into two batches each and labeled which were the bitter ones. For these, I attempted to properly process the jars, since my refrigerator is full of pickles now and running low on space. I even purchased a canning set to make things easier. After sterilizing the jars, filling the jars, boiling the jars to seal them, and letting them sit on the counter for about an hour, I got nervous that they hadn’t sealed properly, so I put them in the fridge anyway. I think I have about 9 jars of pickles in the fridge, so I need to get eating! I haven’t tried these out yet, but I’m told they’re the best pickles you’ll ever eat, and for now I can’t argue with that.
Leave a comment with any recipe suggestions – I’ve got a couple more recipes from my mom that I’m hoping to try next, including Lime Pickles and Christmas Red Pickles – I’m always looking to try new recipes!