Proud as a Pickle!

I know I’ve talked here about foods I crave that aren’t quite right, and pickles top that list!

British gherkins just don’t do it for me- they are too sweet and multi-flavoured.  When I say I crave pickles, I really mean it- I am known in my family for saving the jar and drinking the pickle juice! There is nothing better than a nice, crisp and juicy kosher dill pickle. Actually, one of my favourite childhood “trips” was to go to the supermarket with my dad and pick the pickle from the barrel (but I did not pick a peck of pickled peppers, just to set the record straight).

cucumber size

Last week we received some beautiful garden cucumbers and I knew it was time to give pickle making a try.

After reading around, I learned that some pickles are made with vinegar while others are pickled by letting the juice ferment a bit.  Apparently, Polish pickles are fermented.  This explains why they looked similar to what I expected from a pickle (the standard jar of British pickled cucumers has many extra spices floating around), but it did not taste the same.

Some of the dill pickle recipes I came across had “pickling seasonings” in the ingredients.  Unnamed, mixed spices always make me nervous when purchasing them outside of the area in which the writer purchased them- you never know how different each culture or nation’s take on the mixture will be from the intended flavour.  Checking into the ingredients of pickling spices, I decided to skip them for my first attempt because some of the flavours evoke sweetness (like cloves) for me, something I wanted to avoid.

up close and pickle!

In the end, I used a modified version of this recipe and it was FANTASTIC! Thanks to Sharon Howard for submitting it! I read somewhere that soaking the sliced cucumbers (I cut mine into “pickle spears”- just long quarters) in ice water for at least two hours before jarring them helps keep them crunchy, so I treated them to a chilly bath.

The recipe here was a canning recipe and since I don’t have any canning jars, I skipped that part and didn’t wait the expected 8 weeks.  I tried them after two days and thought 4 would do the trick and yes, 4 is the magic number when it comes to these pickles (sorry, School House Rocks!).

I also doubled the dill and the garlic.  The original recipe website enables you to alter it based on servings, but I found that the ratio of flavouring was not enough since I knew it was not going to sit and seep in the flavour for at least 8 weeks, as recommended.

pickle top jar

This is my augmented recipe, using 4 medium cucumbers, it was exactly 2 Lbs and the jar is 1.5 litres.  I had a bit of vinegar juice left over, but that’s fine.

6 C water

2 C vinegar (I used apple cider)

1/3 C salt (make sure it has not been iodized or had anything added)

Start on medium heat, stirring these ingredients together and bring to a rapid boil. This is your brine.

Sterilise the jar well. Then add FOUR half cloves of garlic (recipe calls for 2) – I crushed them before cutting in half- and one head of dill to the bottom of the jar.  Pack in the pickles, add the brine and put 2 more cloves (crushed and chopped in half) at the top and another large cluster of dill.

Put the lid on and pop them in your fridge.  Resist the urge to eat them for four days!

pickles foggy from fridgeWhen these have been gobbled up, make a batch of “refrigerator pickles”.  Reuse this brine by thinly slicing cucumbers and placing them in jar.  Let them sit for 4-5 days and they will have soaked up enough flavour to be ‘lightly flavoured’ pickles!

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9 thoughts on “Proud as a Pickle!

  1. Looks yummy! Did they turn out with a lil’ crunch like you were hoping? Sorry, I didn’t get a recipe to you yet, are you still thinking about trying another recipe? Or does this one take the cake.

    • Yep, there is a crunch! Not crunchier than the crunchiest brand-name, but I think that is because I did not “can” them. I would be happy to test out other recipes if you send them my way! Especially from rodale (sp?) since that has the one mom remembers using!

    • Weeeeelllll…I’ve decided to learn to make anything I really crave throughout the year. I have a light box now, so there should be nothing left about Scotland to frustrate me once I figure out all the yummies!
      You should join in on this endeavour!

  2. Pingback: Cucumber Week, Day 8: Cucumber Round Up « Young Wifey's Blog

  3. Oh my gosh RiotFlower, I found your site a couple weeks ago (love it by the way) and have made your pickles…it really was a bit if home! I’m from the east coast of the US, Vermont, to be specific, but I fell in love and married a British man and moved to Scotland a few days after the wedding. While some of the food is lovely, there’s sometimes when only American flavours will meet my cravings and as I only get home once a year usually, what I’m able to bring back doesn’t last long! I’m like you when it comes to pickles, the juice is just bliss filled and I love drinking it (my family think its disgusting lol), its even great having a tablespoon or two in some tomato soup!). Your pickles have been brilliant and I can’t thank you enough! Nor can hubby as he doesn’t have to listen to me whine that the pickles here just won’t do ! :). Now, do you have a recipe for cheddar goldfish? Then I really would be a happy lass! Anyway, just had to write and thank you! Thank you!

    • Hello Shelly! Welcome to my blog! I’m so glad you liked the pickles. I haven’t made goldfish shaped crackers yet, but I have made cheese-it shaped ones, with basically the same recipe: https://riotflower.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/kerpow/. If you miss wheat thins as well, I write about them here: https://riotflower.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/homemade-wheat-thins-and-ricotta/ I’m always so excited when an American missing delicious food learns how to make it for themselves!

      Without giving away your location too much on the Internet, what area of Scotland are you in now and how long have you been here? I’m in Stirling and am at 7.5 years…

      • Oh my gosh, you’ve made me even happier *doing happy wheelies* (my rendition of the happy dance as I’m in a wheelchair)!!! Bring on the weekend for both those recipes and a HUGE THANK YOU for sharing! I’m not far from you at all, I’m on the outskirts of Perth! I’ve been her 18 years in March, and while I’m so lucky that I get to go home once a year, the rest of the year is very sparse with American foods lol. Youd think after being here so long that id be used to the Scottish food and not crave stuff from home, wouldnt you? I did find, last Christmas an American food shop over here online…they can be a bit pricey, but when you are so homesick and can’t wait til the next trip, it comes in handy. I bought hubby the only soda he ever drinks…real Mountain Dew…for Christmas last year and he was over the moon as he only gets it when we are in the US. It’s http://www.americansweets.co.uk if you want to have a peek and drool lol. But it’s one of those places that I can only justify once a year also! Think I’m going to have to make those wheat thins tonight…I try not to let myself think about them lol, so now I’m excited!! Again RiotFlower, thank you!!

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