Not to get too Portlandia on you, but we're pretty into pickling. There are some old-timey craft fads we're on the fence about (tatting is probably not going to happen), but making your own pickles is a skill we're psyched to have. They make great housewarming gifts, unique wedding favors, and — above all — the salt-craving snack we never want to be without. Studies (in our apartments) have shown that those who keep a fancy, delicious jar of pickles in the fridge are 78% less likely to eat an entire family-size bag of tortilla chips.
Many folks balk at the idea of a complicated preserving process — sterilizing, boiling, sealing, etc. It's a pickle...not a chemistry final. The good news is there's a foolproof lazy-girl method that will give you just as good results. Refrigerator pickles require a lot less finagling and no special equipment — plus, they're often crisper than traditional pickles, due to less processing. This recipes creates a classic garlic dill (which you can use with any veggie!), perfect for sandwiches or late-night snacking. Grab a couple jars and get pickling!
3 lbs kirby cucumbers
1 1/2 cups white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 gallon + 1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp pickling salt*
1/2 cup white sugar
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp mustard seed
1 small bunch fresh dill
2 quart-sized canning jars (like Kilner or Ball)
*Pickling salt is the same as table salt, except it lacks iodine and anti-caking additives. (These ingredients won't hurt your pickle, but will make the water cloudy and the pickle less, well, pretty.) You don't have to hunt for pickling salt, just find some kosher salt (which is iodine-free) and check the ingredients to make sure it doesn't contain any additives. If it's coarse, stick it in the blender until it's ground finely. If it's already ground, you're good to go!
Step 1: Wash jars and lids thoroughly in hot, soapy water, and set aside.
Step 2: Wash and dry kirby cucumbers and cut the blossom end off (the one where you can see remnants of a stem). You can cut the cukes into halves, quarters, or leave whole — dealer's choice!
Step 3: Place cucumbers in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of salt. Cover with 1/2 gallon of water and let this sit for at least four hours (or overnight).
Step 4: Evenly distribute mustard seeds, garlic, and (washed!) dill into the jars.
Step 5: Drain the cucumbers and pack them into the jars. Don't damage them, but you can squeeze them in (think about how tightly those suckers are packed when you open a fresh jar).
Step 6: Combine vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil.
Step 7: Pour this brine into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace beneath the rim. Check for any air bubbles and remove by poking around with a clean knife, or gently tapping the jar onto the counter.
Step 8: Wipe the rim dry and screw on the lid. Let the jar cool before putting in the fridge.
For optimal flavor, let these pickles sit for a week before digging in. These pickles will keep for months on end in the fridge, so feel free to make tons to enjoy — and
Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh