23 July 2010

How To Make Icebox Pickles

This goes out to the darling (and very pregnant) Lauren, and anyone else who's swimming in garden cucumbers at the moment. No garden? No worries. Hit up your local farmer's market this weekend. Tis the season.

I actually planted two varieties of cukes this year: an heirloom Armenian cucumber that I've enjoyed juiced, sliced in salads, and most recently, as a refreshing aguas frescas; and the smaller Kirby you see pictured above, for pickling. My garden runneth over.

Someone asked me recently if I knew how to make pickles. Hello, I'm Hungarian, aren't I? 
I know this isn't unique to just us Magyars, but when I was growing up, we had a whole 'nuther kitchen down in the basement, complete with stove, oven, fridge and upright freezer. And in the summertime, one dark corner was lined with earthenware crocks of pickles in various stages of fermenting.

Sometime later, maybe when I was in high school, Mom's sister-in-law showed her another, faster way to make pickles...in the refrigerator. Since there's no boiling brine poured over top of them, the cukes retain their color, crispness and flavor — and smack of garlic!

Auntie Ann's Icebox Pickles

pickling cucumbers
raw cider vinegar
filtered water

1 Tbsp coarse salt
sprig of fresh dill
sprig of fresh thyme
5 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1 Tbsp dried chili pepper


I like to sterilize my mason jars in a pre-heated 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You can also run them through the dishwasher.

You'll need enough small pickling cucumbers to fit in a large-mouth mason jar. Slice 'em into spears, chips, or leave whole. It's up to you.

Place all spices into the jar and fill with cucumber. Pack in as many as you can. Fill the jar about 2/3 with raw cider vinegar. Add water until the jar is full. Screw the lid on and turn the jar over to mix the ingredients well. Store in the refrigerator.

These can actually be eaten the very next day, but obviously, the longer they sit, the stronger the taste. You can always adjust the spices to suit your taste buds.


Oh, I almost forgot the most important ingredient of all – fill those jars with LOVE.

My fridge is stocked right now. I absolutely delight in sending visiting friends and family home with a jar of homemade pickles, fresh from the garden. Come on over and get yours!


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