A few summers ago, I dipped my toes in the canning and preserving waters with some blueberry jam. Since then, I’ve also made canned dill pickles and refrigerator bread and butter pickles. I absolutely love the canning process; it makes me feel a little bit like Donna Reed, and I’m not going to lie… I’m pretty convinced that if I had to live in another decade, the 1950’s and I would get along perfectly well. I loved making the dill pickles last summer, but I wasn’t totally in love with the flavor and texture. I’ve been seeing refrigerator pickles pop up on countless sites over the last couple of years, and decided to give a version of that a shot. Being able to keep them in the fridge for up to 2 months is more than enough for me, and I love the ability to make as little or as much as I need.
If I’m putting a pickle on a deli-style sandwich, I always, always go for bread and butter; I love how zesty they are! However, if I’m having a burger or just want a pickle spear to snack on, then dill is my preferred go-to. Since I loved the refrigerator version of bread and butter so much, I had high hopes for the dill variety. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed.
I would typically use pickling cucumbers for, well, pickles, but I didn’t grow any this year and the store only had a few very sad-looking stragglers left. However, regular cucumbers work just as well – you’ll just have larger slices! You can cut these however you’d like – spears, circles, thin slices (a la sandwich stackers) – the choice is yours.
I did a little experimentation and did half of my jars with the standard garlic and dill; the other two I added some black peppercorns and crushed red pepper flakes. After doing a taste test, I thought that the pickles with the peppercorns and red pepper flakes had much more of a punch of flavor (though I wouldn’t call them spicy). Those without were still good, albeit much more mild. This is totally a matter of personal preference; feel free to play around with different seasoning combinations to find your personal sweet spot.
I love that I’ve discovered a quick and easy way to enjoy my dill pickles. I love how crisp and flavorful they are, and how little time it takes to make a fresh batch.
If you’ve been feeling daunted by canning, this is a great first step!
Add 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, 1 pinch of red pepper flakes and 2 springs of dill to the bottom of four pint-size canning jars.
Add the cut cucumbers to the jars, packing them tightly and adding as many as you can without forcing them into the jars.
In a 4-cup measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the water, vinegar and salt until the salt has completely dissolved. Pour the brine mixture into each jar, completely covering the cucumbers. Add 2 additional sprigs of dill to each jar and affix the lids.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 2 days before eating (this allows the flavors to fully absorb). If you remember, give the jars a gentle shake every now and then during this initial chilling time. The pickles will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.