Have you ever wanted to live in pioneer times? Oh man, have I. I couldn’t get enough of Laura Ingalls and her little house, quilting bees and barn raisings and berry picking. And you better believe that Kirsten was my BFF of the American Girl variety. Well, turns out I’m not alone. My friend Alli (of livingfullywithout.com fame) came over this weekend to teach me how to make pickles! And even though she was a Felicity girl, we had no trouble imagining ourselves out on the frontier, pickling our summer garden spoils to get us through the harsh winter.
They had mandolin slicers, refrigerators, and blogs on the frontier, right?
Alli was kind enough to buy our pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s market. It’s cucumber season RIGHT NOW, so that means they’re cheap and ready for pickling! But first, give ’em a good wash.
Then slice and dice those cucumbers however suits your fancy.
Now separate your cucs into pint size mason jars. Fill them up nice and full. The liquid will fill in around them. Oh, and we sterilized the jars first by boiling them in a large stock pot for a few minutes.
Now it’s time to make the brine, the vinegary liquid that works magic on those unsuspecting cucumbers and turns them into delicious pickles. It just requires boiling water, vinegar, and whatever spices you choose. It was so easy and boring that I didn’t even take a picture. The point is, you should just do it, because if you can boil water and vinegar in a pot, then you can make pickles.
We were a wee bit ambitious and made three different kinds. Here were the recipes we used (generally, but Alli is a pro so she mainly winged it):
- Dill pickles (We left the garlic out of these ones)
- Spicy dill pickles
- Garlic dill pickles
- BONUS: Pickled red onions!
Once the jars are filled and the liquid is cooled, put them in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Then they’re ready to eat and can be kept in the fridge for 6-8 weeks.
Look at all those pretty pickles! Pickle spears, pickle sandwich slices, pickle rounds! Spicy pickles, dill pickles, garlic pickles! AND don’t forget, bonus pickled red onions!
This made for an incredibly satisfying project. Ingredients you mostly have on hand, a couple of hours in the kitchen, really easy clean-up, and a fridge full of pretty mason jars showing off your beautiful homemade pickles.
Thanks for teaching me how to pickle that, Al Pal!