Classic Refrigerator Dill Pickles
This year we let the chickens rule the garden. We’ve been so busy moving the business, improving the pastures and trails, and getting the cabin ready to rent that tending a garden and making sure produce gets frozen or canned has not been lowered on the priority list, it has been completely taken off the list for now. This year, in addition to the chickens, we have a mama cow and her calf in the the garden to graze and to bond where we have easy access to the calf, who needs to be bottle fed. The critters are doing a great job of fertilizing the garden with their poo and tilling it in with their movement. The chickens scratch through the cow poo and spread it nicely so it’s decomposing quickly. You’d never know that Trixie and Ivan have been pooping in there for almost 3 weeks!
We’ve accomplished a lot this year so next year I’ll have more time and we’ll likely reclaim the garden next summer. Until then, I do miss being able to walk out and grab ingredients for dinner and playing with different canning recipes. Luckily, I have friends and family nearby whose gardens are abundant! I came home from a visit with my sister the other day with a handful of beautiful cucumbers - just enough for 2 quarts of pickles. I started with a recipe from Food Network for reference and changed it to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand, and to eliminate the nightshades. You can add some jalapeños or red chilis if you want to add some spice but I love the way my version turned out - a simple and classic dill.
Classic Refrigerator Dill Pickles (makes 2 quarts)
4 cups water
10 + cloves of garlic
2 cups white vinegar
several springs of fresh dill
2 tsp yellow mustard seed
2 tsp brown mustard seed
2 tbsp mixed peppercorns
3 tbsp sea salt
8-10 cucumbers (maybe more or less depending on size, you want enough to tightly pack the jars - quartered lengthwise or other vegetables: carrots, green beans, scallions, cauliflower)
2 x 1-Quart Jars
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add garlic. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add vinegar and salt, bring back to a boil stirring occasionally. Once the salt has dissolved remove from heat.
Place a few sprigs of dill in the bottom of each jar. Divide the mustard seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Use a spoon or tongs to remove garlic from brine and divide between the jars. Pack the jars full of cucumber or other veggies, adding a few more sprigs of dill between the veggies. Pour brine into jars, covering the veggies completely. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate. They are ready to eat once completely cooled but will be best after 3 days or more and will keep in the fridge for about 3 months.