As we race into the unknown of summer, I take comfort in the fact that gardens and fields will yield and abundance of fresh produce. The only thing I fear is that it will soon be gone.
Given the latest scare of the “Food Supply Chain” collapsing, I think back, some 60+ years to my mother’s garden and the never ending supply of fresh produce that traveled from the garden into the kitchen, and finally rested in a collection of mason / ball jars in her pantry cabinet.
Cucumbers, Peppers, Tomatoes, Okra, Onions, Squash, Pumpkins, all were to be found in that pantry to complete a meal or be the basis of a meal in the dark winters eves.
I’ll not go deep into hot process canning or pickling in this set of missives, but I shall cover some of my family favorites.
These are quick or refrigerator pickles, the basic method is to pack your fresh produce & any other spices into sterilized canning jars, pour a vinegar-based pickling brine into the jars to completely submerge the produce, and then refrigerate. NOTE: These are not “preserved” and must be refrigerated.
First up just plain “bread and butter” pickles.
A pickled cucumber (commonly known as a pickle in the United States and Canada, and a gherkin in Britain, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation. Pickled cucumbers are often part of mixed pickles.
Bread-and-butter pickles are a marinated pickle produced with sliced cucumbers in a solution of vinegar, sugar, and spices which may be processed either by canning or simply chilled as refrigerator pickles.
Basic Refrigerator Pickles
- Pint Mason Jar
- 3-4 ea Pickling Cucumbers ~4" Washed, Quartered
- 1/4 Cup Sweet Onion Peeled, sliced thinly
- 1/2 Cup Vinegar Apple cider is best
- 2 tbsp Garlic Minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Corns
- 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds Yellow
- 1 ea Jalapeno Pepper Washed Stemmed seeded, sliced
- 1/2 cup Water Filtered is good
- 1 tsp Dill weed ~ 5 sprigs fresh
- Wash jar, lid and ring
- Place jar, ring, and lid in a medium saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil
- Carefully remove jar, ring and lid from water and allow to cool, do not touch the inside of the jar, ring or lid. Tongs swished in the boiling water work well here
- In the clean pint mason jar, pack cucumbers, onion, jalapeno, and dill sprigs if used, use the tongs, luke.
- In a small saucepan add water, vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and dried dill if used
- Simmer until sugar and salt dissolve
- Once those are dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool to ~130
- Fill the jar to 1/2 " of the top, place the lid, and secure the ring
- Place in fridge to brine for 24 hours
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