Oh, dill pickles - you either hate 'em or you love 'em, but you can't deny that the transformation of these is a thing of beauty. This recipe for Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles will make you feel great knowing that you pickled these from scratch.
And the method is so easy! All you need are some fresh pickling cukes, garlic, dill and spices, and you'll have your own homemade crunchy pickles. This recipe makes tons of pickles, so these are even a great gift idea. Attach some decorations to the mason jars, and your holiday shopping list just got much shorter!
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 cup white or cider vinegar
- ½ cup pickling salt
- About 3 to 4 pounds of cucumbers - small pickling cukes are best
- 8 large heads of dill, or more if they are smaller
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- 4 pinches red pepper flakes
- About 20 black peppercorns
This will make about 4 quarts of pickles, so you need 4 1 quart jars with lids, or more if they are smaller. Canning jars aren't necessary, but they do need a lid. Wash in hot soapy water and rinse well (or run through the dishwasher).
Measure the water, vinegar and salt into a 3 quart sauce pan and set over high heat - you want the salt to dissolve and the mixture to come to a full boil.
Meanwhile, make sure your cucumbers are good and clean. Cut them however you like - the smaller the pieces, the more that will fit in a jar. Spears are pretty to serve, though if you end up with a lot of odd sized cucumbers, chunks may work better.
In the bottom of each jar, place 1 large head of dill, or several smaller ones. You can also put in some of the fronds and stems. Then put 1 garlic clove in the bottom.
Fill each jar with cucumbers - for spears, it might be easier to lay the jar on its side. You can really cram them in there tightly, but leave a good inch of headspace at the top, so that the brine will be able to cover the pickles.
Top the cucumbers in the jars with another clove of garlic, as well as another large head of dill. You can just leave it at that, or for a little more complexity of flavor, add a scant teaspoon of mustard seed, a pinch of red pepper flake and 5 peppercorns to each jar.
Carefully fill each jar with the boiling water/vinegar/salt mixture, making sure to get the cucumbers completely covered.
Screw on the lids.
Leave the jars out in the counter for 2 or 3 days, and then store in the refrigerator for at least two weeks before opening them.
They will keep well for several months at least, so long as you keep them refrigerated. Naturally, if anything looks or smells funky, discard them, but honestly, that happens very rarely.