You know what’s awesome? Handing your daughter a pickle and having her proclaim (without knowing where it was from) “This is amazin’!”. That, my friends, is what I call winning. She didn’t see me make the first batch of refrigerator pickles this year, but she’s been helping me make every batch since. She is fascinated by the fact that it doesn’t take very long to transform a cucumber into a wonderful pickle.
I decided to wing-it this year and make up my own pickle recipe. After waiting rather impatiently for my mom to send me her recipe (you’re in trouble, mother), I decided to conjure up my own version. Sure, I’ve made lots of refrigerator pickles in the past, but nothing that kept me wanting to make the same batch again. I was reaching too far, to be honest– over-complicating things. I kept looking for something “interesting” that would blow me away. Last year I even tried a version with mint, and while they were fine, they just were not what I was looking for. I realized that what I was really after wasn’t complicated at all. I wanted something that was really crunchy, fresh, garlicy, and had a clean dill taste. Simple. Classic. So, I stopped searching and just made them the way I wanted. Duh.
The key for me to keeping them refreshing is to lessen the salt and vinegar amount a bit. I remember this trick from my mom, which is why I probably loved her pickles so much. Add a little filtered water to the vinegar and it creates the most refreshing brine. Too much salt makes me want to stop eating something in a hurry, but just the right amount– and I can chomp on these babies all day long. The dill and garlic are just what you’d expect them to be– delicious. No surprises here. I always add carrots to my refrigerator dills– they’re fantastic. They take a bit longer to pickle than the cucumbers do. Using young small cucumbers is the key to a crunchy pickle, as is not heating up the brine mixture. Keep everything cold and you’ll have a fantastic crunch– I promise you.
These pickles are perfect to bring to a barbecue or neighborhood gathering. Bring a huge bowl of them– they’ll disappear quickly. There is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a cold, crunchy pickle on a hot summer evening. National Night Out is next Tuesday in the US. I plan on bringing a big bowl of these crunchy dills, and I think you should do the same. Or just make a jar or two to keep in your refrigerator for when you need that tangy, satisfying crunch.
The Recipe: Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic
Smallish cucumbers, cut however you like– I prefer spears
carrots, cut into spears
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt ( I use Diamond Crystal–and weirdly this matters. Different salt. Different results.)
Make as many jars as you want. Fill each clean quart jar with cucumber spears, carrots, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and fresh dill. Make sure everything is packed in there tightly. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Pour vinegar into the jar until it is 3/4 full. Then finish filling the jar with filtered water, leaving about 1/2-inch space at the top. Cover with lid and gently shake to combine. Refrigerate. Pickles will be ready within a few hours, but it’s best to wait at least a day for optimum results. Carrots often take a bit longer to fully become pickled, but I generally eat them before the fact. Enjoy!
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