Spicy, Crunchy Dill Pickles
One of the best things about the end of summer is the abundance of fresh, ripe veggies at their prime. Even better is when you have friends trying desperately to unload their gardens’ bountiful yield. So far I’ve been enjoying zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes from friends’ gardens. A coworker e-mailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted some pickling cucumbers. Her CSA’s crop had just come in and they were giving them away. My first thought? Umm..not really. I’ve just been so busy lately and the idea of pickling cucumbers and canning them and everything was just a little too much. But then I learned about refrigerator pickles. All you have to do is make your pickles and let them sit in your refrigerator until you eat them all up in the next month or so. I love pickles, so I figured I should give it a try.
When Patty arrived at work with an enormous bag of cucumbers, I started having my doubts again. I got home and weighed my new bounty and quickly decided that there was no way I could use seven pounds of cucumbers. Seven pounds!! Luckily another coworker was more than happy to take 3 pounds off my hands, still leaving me with an incredible pile of cucumbers.
I scoured the internet for recipes and had a harder time than I expected finding a recipe that I wanted to try. Many refrigerator pickle recipes are for bread and butter pickles, which are a bit too sweet for my taste. Most of the dill pickle recipes called for dill seed and I went to three different stores and wasn’t able to find any. I finally settled on a recipe that called for fresh dill and made a few modifications.
Through a series of miscalculations over the past year, we’ve somehow ended up with 3 large bottles of cider vinegar. I use it every so often when I need a quick chocolate fix and make this awesome chocolate cake recipe (I promise, you can’t tell that there’s vinegar in there!) but I’d need to make that cake every night to get through all the cider vinegar in our pantry! I figured this would be a great way to use of some of that surplus. I also threw in some mustard seeds and dried dill in addition to the black peppercorn, fresh garlic, and chili flakes that the recipe I finally selected called for. Using our OXO mandoline (I seriously love this thing!) I was able to slice through heaps of cucumbers very quickly and with the added bonus of getting a ridge cut which makes the pickles seem even more legit.
Just a day after sitting in the fridge the pickles were already coming together, and a week later they were full on pickles. Crisp and spicy, these pickles really hit the spot whether on their own or thrown onto a burger!
spicy, crunchy dill pickles
Adapted from Cooking With My Kid
While I doubled the recipe to use 4 pounds of cucumbers, I've left the recipe below for 2 pounds since I figure most people won't have quite the influx of cucumbers. Please note that the chili flakes do make the pickles a bit spicy, especially if your chili flakes are fresh. If you want to tone down the spice level, just decrease the amount of chili flakes.
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh dill still on the stem
- 8 cups water
- 3/4 cups cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 2 pounds pickling cucumbers, quartered or sliced in rounds
- Combine the water, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, and dried dill in a large pot and bring to a boil and cook until the salt dissolves.
- Meanwhile, place peeled garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, peppercorn and 1/2 of the dill on the bottom of a 1 gallon jar or two 1/2 gallon jars (divide ingredients evenly if using 2 jars). Pack cucumbers in jar(s) and put remaining dill on top.
- Pour the brine over the cucumbers and cover the jar(s). Let the jars sit on your counter, but not in direct sunlight until cooled, about an hour, and then put them in the fridge. The cucumbers will have begun pickling after 24 hours, but wait a full week if you want them to be fully pickled. They will last for 4-6 weeks in the fridge.