Pickles

Make Homemade Pickles Without Canning | Family Cuisine

Pickling is a process of preserving food by either submerging it in brine (usually with vinegar) or packing it in jars. Dill pickles are a traditional American dish that can be made at home using this method.

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Make dill pickles without canning

Bloggers like me love to see lots of comments on our stories, but too many comments means trouble. Such is the case with my blog on homemade pickles from two summers ago. If you read all fifty comments, two problems become clear: creative cooks are altering recipes (a no-no in pickling), and people with little experience are trying advanced methods, with discouraging results.

You can learn plenty from making mistakes, but why take risks with homemade pickles? Here I will discuss the two easiest, nearly fool-proof ways to make pickles: refrigerator pickles and freezer pickles. Both are distinctive and superior in their way. Refrigerator pickles deliver a fresh cucumber crunch you will never get in processed pickles, and making refrigerator pickles will help you understand pickling brines, which are a mix of vinegar, sugar, water and salt. Freezer pickles involve an extra step – pre-salting the cut cucumbers – which is also used in canned pickles. Neither refrigerator nor freezer pickles are cooked, so your kitchen stays cool. Best of all, you can make very small batches. Save up 2 pounds (1 kg) of nicely scrubbed cukes, and you’re ready to make homemade pickles using one of the recipes below.

Reading: make dill pickles without canning

On ingredients, you can use distilled white vinegar, cider vinegar, or any food-grade vinegar labeled as having 5 percent acidity. I use finely ground sea salt, but regular table salt will do.

Pickling cucumbers

Recipes for Refrigerator Pickles

Making refrigerator pickles is a simple matter of mixing up a brine and pouring it over cut cucumbers. These pickles are ready to enjoy starting the day after they are made, and they will keep in the refrigerator for a month. Don’t worry if the liquid does not quite cover the cucumbers at first. Overnight, the cut pieces will release juices that will raise the level of the brine.

Read more: how to make koshir dill pickles | Family Cuisine

For sweet refrigerator pickles, make a brine of 1 cup (250 ml) vinegar, one-fourth cup (60 ml) water, one-half cup (100 g) sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat the mixture just enough to dissolve the sugar. Pour over cut cucumbers, or a mixture of cucumbers and thinly sliced onions. If desired, add a light sprinkling of mustard seeds or red pepper flakes.

For refrigerator dill pickles, make a brine of 1 cup (250 ml) vinegar, one-fourth cup (60 ml) water, one-fourth cup (50 g) sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat the mixture just enough for the sugar to dissolve. Pour over cucumbers, and add 1 teaspoon dill seeds or several dill leaves or flower heads, along with two cloves peeled garlic.

Refrigerator pickles
Refrigerator pickles

Recipes for Freezer Pickles

Freezer pickles have more pickle flavor compared to refrigerator pickles, and you can eat them for months after they are made. Pre-salting the cut cucumbers is required, but you can experiment freely with flavor accents such as herbs, horseradish, or celery seeds. Sliced onions or peppers also can be added as long as they are included in the pre-salting procedure to enhance their texture. Freezer pickles are a great way to experiment with taste tweaks, too. For example, you can simmer the brine with pickling spices for 10 minutes to introduce another layer of spicy flavors.

Before you get started, cut clean cucumbers into uniform pieces and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons (15 g) salt. Top with six or so ice cubes, and cover with a cloth. After a minimum of 3 hours, or a maximum of 10, drain the cucumbers in a colander and rinse very well with cold water to remove excess salt. Allow to drain while you make the brine.

Freezer pickles
Freezer pickles

Read more: how to make homemade sun pickles | Family Cuisine

For sweet freezer pickles, make a brine of 1 cup (250 ml) vinegar, one cup (200 g) sugar, and one-fourth cup (60 ml) water. Heat the mixture just enough to dissolve the sugar, unless you want to steep pickling spices in the brine. Cool before pouring over prepared cucumbers. If desired, add a light sprinkling of mustard seeds, celery seeds or red pepper flakes. Pack into freezer containers. Freeze at least a week, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

For freezer dill pickles, make a brine of 1 cup (250 ml) vinegar, one-fourth cup (50 g) sugar, and one-fourth cup (60 ml) water. Heat the mixture just enough to dissolve the sugar. Pour over cucumbers, and add 1 teaspoon dill seeds or several dill leaves or flower heads, along with two cloves peeled garlic and a light sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Pack into freezer containers. Freeze at least a week, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Making a few batches of these easy pickles will teach you so much about basic pickling that you will be ready to move up to canned pickles next time you have a bumper crop. Then again, you may be so happy with your freezer pickles that they become your favorite homemade pickles.

By Barbara Pleasant

Read more: make zucchini pickles with only vinegar and salt | Family Cuisine

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