As you know my boyfriend and I grew our first garden at our new home this year. Our garden was super successful producing tons of tomatoes, basil, hot peppers, and other herbs. The one thing that did not turn out so well however were the cucumbers. I am not sure what happened but they grew up to look like ugly little squashes with a thin neck and fat bottom. ha. My boyfriend thought about just ripping out the plant and calling it a loss but I decided "lets make pickles!". And so I did.
I absolutely love pickles, and they are surprisingly super easy to make.
Begin by slicing your cucumbers however you wish your pickles to be whether it's spears, slices, or coins. Crush about four cloves of garlic and add them to the bottom of your mason jars. Then use about two teaspoons of dill seed and distribute it between the jars. Pack the cucumbers in the jars, but be careful not to crush them.
You can add whichever spices you would like to your pickles. Black peppercorns or red pepper flakes would be awesome additions.
To make the brine: Boil equal parts cider vinegar and salted water in a pot. I did about a cup of each. Pour the brine over the pickles until covered. Next, remove the air bubbles from the jars by gently tapping the jars on the counter. Place the lid on the jar and close it until tight. Let the jars cool at room temperature, then place in the fridge.
Your pickles will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The longer you let them sit in the brine the more flavor they will have, so try your best to hold out before chowing down on these babies!
If you wish your pickles to be shelf stable you can process your pickle jars. Take a pot of boiling water, place the jars in the water, and wait about five minutes. Remove the jars immediately and watch the lid pop down. Processed jars will last about a year on the shelf.
Processing pickles however can result in a softer texture. For crunchier pickles skip the processing step as I did.
It is best to wait about 48 hours before you eat your pickles. I know, the wait is hard-
trust me. You can use this same pickling process with green beans or okra (perfect additions to a bloody mary!)