Tuesday, September 24, 2013

cold packed pickles*

 My family loves a good pickle. We eat them for snacks, add thick slices to sandwiches and chop them for salads. The three cucumber plants in my garden produced insane volumes this year and I pickled every cuke that was not eaten fresh. I made several pints of dill pickles from a canning book and also canned a whole lot of Garlic Dills.
The idea to cold pack a big batch of cucumbers came from a place of an over abundant garden and absolutely no time to put it all up properly.
The results of my "lazy" preserving were the best tasting and crunchiest pickles ever. Not even kidding!!
I used this tutorial (with a few changes noted below) which makes a gallon jar of cold packed pickles. I was hesitant because let's face it, a gallon sized jar is a huge refrigerator footprint! But I got over that real quick when I tasted the results. I made a second batch yesterday and just tuck the jar into the very back of the fridge until they are ready to eat. From that point on the jar lives at the front of the fridge for easy access! Once the jar was half empty I transferred the contents to a smaller jar.
First I made my brine ::
8 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup pickling salt (or 3.5 oz by weight)
Bring this mixture to a boil then remove from burner and let the brine cool to room temperature.
Next up are the aromatics and spices. I added 8 garlic cloves, 4 dill heads and 5 tsp. of pickling spice to the bottom of the jar.

Click on the photo above to read the contents of the pickling spice that I used.

Then I pack the jar with freshly cut cucumber spears (some of the smaller cukes are cut in half rather than spears). Some of these were plucked from the garden and immediately packed into the pickle jar! I topped the jar with 4 more dill heads and filled the jar with the cooled brine until everything is submerged. Refrigerate them for approximately 4 weeks and you will then have the best pickles you've ever eaten! Yum!!
{the smaller jar above is quart sized and I used the same technique but decreased all of the aromatics and brine ingredients by 3/4. So I added 2 garlic cloves,  2 dill heads... you get the picture!}

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