I love growing my own cucumbers! The plants don’t take that much effort. You can grow them from seed and, as long as striped cucumber beetles don’t attack your plants (like they did mine last year), you can get plenty to cucumbers to make yummy summer dishes with. My favorite and easiest way to use cucumbers is making dill pickles. You only need 3 cucumbers per quart jar (half that for a pint) and a few other ingredients to create crunchy, sour pickles in your fridge in less than a week. It’s also a great use for dill if you grow it in your garden. Mine actually grows in the shade of the cucumbers (talk about true companion plants and another benefit of my cucumber trellis).
Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles
WHAT YOU’LL NEED (FOR 1 QUART OR 2 PINT JARS):
- 1 TB Kosher Salt (Also known as Pickling Salt)
- 1 Cup White Vinegar
- 2 Cup Water
- 6-8 Sprigs of Dill
- 2 Whole Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tsp Peppercorns
NOTE: Please follow proper cleaning/care instructions for prepping the canning jars.
1. Wash the cucumbers and slice them into spears. I tend to slice off the ends first because they sit in the jar better…just personal preference.
2. Add the vinegar, water, and salt to a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling you can turn the burner off.
3. Meanwhile, add the garlic, pepper corns and dill to the bottom of the jar. If you are using 2 pint jars, split all of the ingredients between the 2 containers.
4. Fill the entire jar with cucumber spears. I like to tilt the jar at an angle when adding them because they don’t fall over and you can maximize the space in the jar.
5. Slowly pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers, making sure to completely cover the cucumber ends.
6. Tightly screw on the lid and you’re ready to go.
Make sure the jar comes to room temperature before placing in the fridge. You’ll have to wait about a week before you have pickles (the hardest part!). I usually can’t wait that long and test them out on day 5 or 6 though, and they’re still really yummy!
- The younger the cucumbers, the better. The optimal size for pickles, in my opinion, is when they just hit full maturity, so if your seed pack or plant stick says 6-8”, then pick it at 6”. If you are buying from the grocery store, buy the smaller ones in the bunch. They have less seeds and tend to create a bit firmer of a pickle.
- You can play with the vinegar/water ratio if you want a more or less sour pickle. The more vinegar the more sour the pickle will be.
- For those of you with a taste for spicy food, add a few hot pepper flakes to the bottom of the jar for an extra kick.
If you do like dill pickles, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. The jar lasts for about 2 weeks in the fridge, but ours never seem to make it that long!
One last yummy tip: if you make tarter sauce from mayo and relish, try chopping up the pickles and using them instead of the relish. Wow! Super hard to go back to the store bought stuff after that!!