Busy Day Pickles
This is the easiest pickle recipe ever. So fast, you can put up a couple of jars in as little as 15 minutes. Perfect for when you have a few surplus cucumbers, but not enough to merit a whole half day of canning.
This recipe is very adjustable. You can use it to make chips, spears, bread and butters, or gherkins. If you have the time and want to do some serious pickling, this recipe can be sized up for a quantity batch and processed in a hot bath canner. If you don’t, you can make a small batch and store them in the fridge.
Ready to make some pickles? Good, let’s get started:
First you will need:
Cucumbers – Larger ones for spears and chips, smaller ones for gherkins. Do not use full size supermarket cukes. Once the insides have had a chance to get all “seedy”, you can’t make crunchy pickles. You want small, compact, and very fresh cucumbers.
Some canning jars – Ball, Mason, whatever. Quart size is best, but pint works too. If you are not planning on processing these for storage, you can even use old mayonnaise or pickle jars as long as they are glass.
White Vinegar – 5% acidity. HAS to be this kind. No red wine, no rice, no homemade. Strong white vinegar.
Distilled water – Water from a well is OK if it doesn’t have a lot of sulfur and minerals in it. You don’t ever want to use fluoridated or treated city water.
Kosher or Pickling salt
Fresh garlic cloves, peeled and washed
Fresh dill stalks washed and dried
Pickling spice (if making sweet pickles)
Fresh grape leaves, washed and dried (optional)
So here is the base recipe for 4 quart jars, size up or down as needed:
In the bottom of each jar put 2-3 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of peppercorns, a bunch of fresh dill, and a grape leaf. If you don’t like garlic, use less or leave it out. If you are making sweet pickles, add a tablespoon of sweet pickling spice.
*Why the grape leaf? The enzymes in the grape leaf naturally preserve the crunchiness of the raw cucumber. There are lots of other additives you can use or ways to get crunchier pickles, but this is the one I’m using in this recipe. Plus it looks cool in the jar*
Wash your cukes thoroughly and cut off the ends. (The blossom end is another thing that makes for soggy pickles). Then slice your cukes up how you want them, or leave them whole for gherkins. Pack the jars tightly all the way up to the headspace of the jar. Add 2-3 more garlic cloves and another grape leaf on top.
In a large pot:
1 Quart of Water
1 Quart 5% White Vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Pickling or Kosher Salt
1-2 Tsp White Sugar (for Sweets, add 1/4-1/2 Cup)
Cook until sugar is dissolved, then taste. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar, saltier, add more salt. As long as you don’t mess with the vinegar/water ratio, you can play with it however you like. Once it is perfect, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and funnel into pickle jars filling just to the bottom of the jars rim. You want to leave that 1/2″ or so as headspace. Put your lids on, let them cool, then put them in the fridge. In a week you will have pickles. Try the same thing with carrots, cauliflower, or any other crunchy vegetable.
If you want to take the time to can them for storage, the only additional steps are to sterilize the jars and lids before filling them and to boil the jars in a water bath canner afterwards. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for processing times on pickles.
And that’s it. 15 minutes to crunchy homemade pickles. Even on a busy day.