Getting Pickled

I want to learn how to can and preserve foods, to have a pantry of canned tomatoes and homemade jam.

But, for now, I cheat. I freeze tomato sauce rather than canning whole tomatoes, and instead of going through the hot work of boiling jars of pickles, I making refrigerator pickles.

I’d never heard of refrigerator pickles until I read a post on the blog Tea & Cookies that linked to this recipe for refrigerator dill pickles. It looked surprisingly easy and required only a few relatively easy to find ingredients.

pickle-cukes

The one ingredient I was never able to find was pickling salt. But someone at BiRite told me I could use kosher salt as long as I made sure the salt had dissolved before pouring it over the cukes and so far it’s worked out just fine.

I first made these pickles about a year ago and I thought my first batch was decent, but I wasn’t really a good judge. I don’t eat many pickles these days, but I happen to have a friend who is more likely to have a jar of pickles in her fridge than a quart of milk. She confirmed that the pickles were better than decent. I believe she even drank the brine (do I even need to mention she’s German?) and raved to our mutual friends about ‘my’ delicious pickles.

The vote of confidence from a serious pickle eater/German was all the encouragement I needed to start making pickles more regularly. They are one of the simplest and most rewarding things I’ve made. They take perhaps 20 minutes at most. The hard part is waiting for your brine to turn your cukes into snappy dill pickles. (I even decided to pickle some green beans recently).

pickles

I’m especially enjoying having a jar in the fridge this summer. On those rare warm summer days, a slice of pickle, straight from the fridge, is pretty refreshing.

Pickles also go well with another food I hadn’t realized that I missed: hot dogs. The Fatted Calf started bringing hot dogs to the market earlier this year. Of course, a Fatted Calf hot dog is made with recognizable ingredients, like grass-fed Marin Sun Farms beef. Thanks to the farmers market, we’ve been eating locally produced franks and beans lately. It turns out that a Fatted hot dog in an Acme bun, with a side of Rancho Gordo beans and a wedge of crisp pickle makes for a perfect summer meal.

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2 Responses to “Getting Pickled”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Mmm, I want to try them. I love dill pickles. I’m still not over how great your granola is, though that’s probably far from your mind in August.

  2. Tea Says:

    Yay, a pickler is born! As a confirmed pickle addict, this makes me happy. Glad to have had some small part in your conversion.

    I’m using pickling salt for the first time ever. I couldn’t find it last year and used kosher instead. Pickling salt is finer, so it dissolves faster, but BiRite folks are right, kosher is okay too.

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