For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a slight obsession with all things pickled. Dill pickles were my favorite snack as a little kid. I would fish them straight out of the jar with my grubby little kid fingers. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I smelled like pickle juice for most of my childhood!
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Decades later, my love affair with pickles is still going strong. I've even gotten my hubby to hop on the pickle train! We're always on the hunt for new styles and flavors of pickles to try. While I have dabbled in canning and preserving pickles, they usually don't last long enough to go through the whole process and sometimes I just need some fresh crunchy dills in my life!
If you want to make quick pickles at home and don't plan on storing them on a shelf for months at a time, this refrigerator recipe is for you! These "quickles" are made using Kirby cucumbers, aka little baby cukes! Kirby's are smaller than the average cucumber, with tiny seeds and an unwaxed finish, making them perfect for pickling. Along with the cucumbers, this batch has one medium yellow onion, two garlic cloves and a fresh jalapeño pepper, all thinly sliced. If you have a mandoline handy, it would be the perfect tool for the job here.
For the spice blend, combine 1 teaspoon each of salt and sugar and ½ teaspoon each of black peppercorn, crushed red pepper, mustard seed and dill seed. Add the spices to a saucepan along with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white vinegar and bring to a boil. After the mixture reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat and let it cool down for a minute.
Carefully fill each mason jar with the vinegar mixture, making sure that you pour enough liquid to cover the entire contents of the jar. Screw the top on and set aside in a dark space to cool down. **If you are skipping the jarring step, just pour the vinegar mixture right over the cucumbers and cover.** Once cooled, place in the refrigerator until you're ready to dig in.
The pickles can be eaten pretty soon after that vinegar mixture hits the cucumbers, but you'll get the most flavor if you give them at least an hour in the refrigerator to come together. The longer they sit, the more flavor they will develop. Some say to wait at least a week or two before digging in, but they usually don't make it that long around here. While these guys are meant to be eaten right away, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Cucumbers seem to be the most popular form of pickle, but you really have a lot of options when it comes to pickling. The subtle sweetness of carrots make an amazing pickle, and don't discount the deliciousness of pickled okra, green beens or beets. So have some fun with the flavors and see what the big dill is all about!
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