Homemade pickles.

I got a half dozen pickling cucumbers with my CSA delivery a few weeks ago, and did the only logical thing: I pickled them. This was a first for me. I combined a couple of different recipes for deli-style dills, tossing in some cloves of garlic, a few tablespoons of fresh dill, and an assortment of pickling spices. The mixture sat for three weeks, with the little cucumbers immersed in them, fermenting on top of my refrigerator. I checked on them every few days, and they gradually began to smell more like pickles.

Today was the three week mark. I just ate one and, damn…that’s a pickle, right there. I’m headed to the farmer’s market on Wednesday to pick up a few pounds of pickling cukes. Homemade pickles are something I could get used to.

13 thoughts on “Homemade pickles.”

  1. My wife makes loads of homemade pickles each year. Her specialty is a very old (centuries!) family recipe for traditional German spiced sweet pickles. They take several weeks of constant attention to make, with various steps (draining, layering…) performed as often as every couple of days.

    She just started a new batch. I’ll save you a jar when they’re ready (sometime in mid/late August).

  2. It’s kind of a kick to make your own pickles, isn’t it?

    Here’s how I would do it — Sterilize a jar, ring, and lid in boiling water. Bring vinegar mixture to a boil. Slice cukes or whatever I’m pickling. Put cukes in hot jar, pour boiling vinegar over them, seal jar.

    Then, because I’m a coward, I keep the jar in a refrigerator just in case. But if you sterilize the jar, use boiling vinegar, and the lid seals (pop!), you should be good.

  3. BTW: not counting her own (and her family’s) homegrown cucumbers, her favorite local pickling cucumbers come from Waterpenny Farm at the C’ville Farmers’ Market; they’re organic+no-spray and appear to be picked same-day.

    (She’s a strong advocate of using picked-that-day cucumbers when starting her pickle batches.)

  4. I am a sucker for homemade pickles. Though I intend to make more of the whole-cuke pickles, I think I’m going to take a gander at sliced pickles, because that seems a whole lot easier, and it seems to permit some more variety, flavor-wise. Garlic/lime pickles, in particular.

  5. Waldo, you have been striking a real chord with my interests recently. Homemade pickles are one of my favorite foods (along with homemade canned peaches–try those sometime if you’re looking for good items to can) and it seems canning is a disappearing skill. I had to encourage you to try recipes you normally don’t enjoy from a grocery store. I don’t like sweet pickles unless they are my mother’s homemade bread-and-butter pickles. Try at least one batch, even if you’re not so fond of commercial bread-and-butter pickles.

  6. Oh, and if you like pickling, give jam-making a try too. We make loads of homemade jam each year, from berries picked at patches around Albemarle and berries from our own yard. (Seems we’ve been letting berry vines/bushes take over quite a bit of our yard the past few years!)

  7. We have home-made pickle relish, sweet slices, sweet pickles, dill pickles, etc. Our cucumbers are not in yet this year, due to the on-purpose lateness of our garden. Once in a while, I will make a relish with sweet pickles, dill pickles, and home grown banana peppers. Yum!

    Lisa found a new recipe (new to her) last year, which greatly cuts down on the water changing, alum adding and such. It also takes a lot less time. She also makes her pickles in crockery, which makes better pickles, according to her.

    Anything we grow tastes great, but tastes better because it came from the garden right to the kitchen. I just picked 4 yellow squash and three zucchini.

  8. My wife, Adrienne, also swears by a crock; hers is turn-of-the-century, handed down from her great-great-aunt.

    BTW: Adrienne recommends using dried red chiles or cayenne peppers (whole) and quartered onions in dills (in addition to everything else). It really adds a zip!

    I hereby propose a “Pickle Summit,” to be held sometime in the next couple of weeks at South Street (or another local watering hole with tasty in-house beverages). Bring pickles, buy beer, stagger home smiling….

  9. We grow our own Anaheim, jalepenos, and a variety of other peppers. We even have purple bells this year. One thing we will try this year, since we already canned wax beans, is a batch of Texas Caviar, and four bean salad.

  10. Don’t they taste better when you do them yourself? Not only can you experiment with a wider variety than you’re going to find in your local grocery, but you can also devote a lot more TLC to preparing them than the brand name producers will.

    My suggestion for your next forays: pickling peaches, followed by a course in micro-brewing. Then totally invite us over!

  11. We also just started making our own pickles because of a wealth of cucumbers in our garden. We found a great recipe for bread & butter pickles that you can make 1 or 2 jars at a time. They taste great and I’m happy too because for a long time I’ve been irritated by the fact that most store-bought pickles have yellow food coloring in them (as well as high fructose corn syrup). Why in the world people want to buy yellow pickles is beyond me…

  12. I have been exploring the world of lactofermentation lately and have made some yummy bread and butter and dill pickles this summer as a result. You add whey to the mix, let the pickles ferment for a few days, and refrigerate. The taste is delicious right away but let them settle for awhile in the ‘fridge and it is out of this world. Great taste and you get the benefits of adding beneficial bacteria to your diet.

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