Late August is a cooking gardener's favorite time of year; green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and cukes are resplendent and anxious to cross the kitchen threshold. Before kiddos, I was an avid home gardener and maybe someday, I will grow vegetables again but for now I am quite satisfied shopping at farmer's markets.
Got cukes? Make pickles! The secret behind these ultra-crisp dill chips is salting the cucumbers before making the pickles, I learned this technique in the book Quick Pickles. Pulling some of the moisture out of the cucumber allows them to absorb the brine better and indded they do become more crisp.
Pickles are so pretty when you first add the vinegar, unfortuately the bright green fades as the pickling process continues.
Pickling cukes rinsed and ready.
Salting the cukes.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 quarts
New England cukes are perfect for pickling and it need not be an all day, complicated affair. I love refrigerator pickles because they are super crunchy and the flavors stay really bright. Once you start making homemade pickles, you may never go back to store-bought.
10 pickling cucumbers, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch thick chips
5 Tbsp. kosher salt or sea salt, divided
2 fresh dill fronds or 1 tsp. dried dill, divided
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic, divided
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, divided
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tsp. yellow mustard seed
1 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1. Add the cucumber chips to a large non-reactive bowl (glass or stainless steel) and toss them with 3 Tbsp. of the salt. Cover and set aside for 2 hours, the salt will pull a fair amount of water out of the cucumbers. Rinse the cumbers several times and pat dry.
2. Divide the fresh dill, garlic and crushed red pepper between two 1-quart jars. Pack the cucumber chips into the jars.
3. Add the vinegar, water, mustard seed, dill seed, celery seed and remaining 2 Tbsp. salt to a non-reactive pot over medium-high heat. Once the brine boils, ladle it into the jars over the cucumber chips.
4. Let pickles cool to room temperature. Cover jars and refrigerate for 6-24 hours for full flavor. Refrigerator dills can be stored for about 1 month, if they last that long.