My weekly trips to the Farmer’s Market have served two purposes: one, to stock up on produce for our weekend juices. Two: to stalk the vendors who sell pickling cucumbers. This past Saturday, they delivered. I walked home with 4 pounds of cucumbers, a whole bunch of dill, (as well as some garlic scapes and squash for a side dish I’ll share later in the week) and got to work. When M came home from running errands, he was so excited to see what was happening in the kitchen. These pickles have become legendary. The recipe has been passed to former co-workers, family and friends. If you have never tried making your own pickle, I strongly recommend you stop what you are doing, find some cucumbers and get to work.
It all starts with some beautiful pickling cucumbers. Don’t worry if you can’t find these: regular cucumbers or Persian cucumbers are good substitutes.
Slice your cucumbers into the desired shape. I made both chips and spears; chips are easier to package to give away to friends. For slices, 1/4″ thick slices work best.
For spears, halve the cucumber lengthwise, and then in half again to yield 4 spears.
Place the prepared cucumbers in a large dish. I keep the shapes separate to make packaging them easier.
Now it’s time to make our pickling liquid. Combine cold water, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar in a glass measuring cup or large bowl.
Roughly chop a whole bunch of garlic.
And a whole bunch of dill. Note, you’ll want to keep a few whole dill fronds off to the side for later.
Add the garlic and dill to the vinegar, and then add in pickling spices.
Here’s where it gets good: add in mustard seed, red pepper flakes, dill seed, salt and sugar. Stir to combine.
Pour the liquid over the cucumbers. Leave them on the counter for 2 hours, or until the sugar and salt dissolve. Once the sugar and salt dissolve, package the cucumbers into jars (mason jars and leftover takeout containers are great for this). Add a dill frond to each package.
Here’s the hard part: Place in the fridge for 10 days. I know! You can enjoy them earlier, but the flavor gets much stronger as they sit. The pickles will last a month in the fridge…if you can wait that long to eat them.
- 12 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers, sliced or speared
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 4 sprigs fresh dill weed
- In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, pickling spice, dill seed, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes. Stir, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Package the cucumbers in jars. Ladle in the liquid from the bowl to cover. Place a sprig of fresh dill into each jar, and seal with lids. Refrigerate for 10 days before eating. Use within 1 month.