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Kirby is probably the most popular, but others, such as Calypso and National Pickling, also work well in a home garden. Although there are yellow- and white-skinned varieties, I'm partial to the traditional dark green ones. The single most important factor, though, is thin skin. A thick, waxy skin slows or prevents the brining process, yielding a very soggy pickle with a "one note" flavor. When you're harvesting your cucumbers even if it's from the bin at the grocery store or farmer's market look for small, firm, thin-skinned cukes and save the glossy waxed ones for salad.

If you're growing cukes in the garden, harvest them while they're still on the small side — 4" to 6" long. I try to harvest enough for one batch all at one time. For me, that's 10 to 12 cukes, or enough to fill four pint jars. Harvesting just before you start the pickling process helps ensure that the sugar content is still high and consistent among all the fruit, and that the skin is firm and undamaged. I also try to harvest them before they fatten up too much. Fresh, thin, firm cukes have the most sugar in them, which — if you're making a brined or fermented pickle — allows for the most good bacteria to go to work and results in more flavor.

If you're making a preserved pickle, freshly harvested cucumbers are still best because they will hold on to more of their natural sweetness to balance the acidity of the vinegar. Once you've got your cucumbers, the next step depends on which kind of pickle you're making.

For a traditional half-sour or dill pickle — the kind you'd get at a good deli — you'll be fermenting. Making a fermented pickle is quick and easy, and you should set about it soon after harvesting. All you need are clean jars, coarse salt, ice-cold water and dill, garlic or whatever other flavors you want to add. Use pickling salt or kosher salt that is free of iodine and anti-caking agents because these additives can discolor your pickles.

Start by sterilizing your pint jars. Wash the cucumbers, taking care to remove any remnants of the flower. Pack the jars tightly with cucumbers.

Making Perfect Pickles, from Cuke to Crunch

I can usually fit three cucumbers per jar. Add herbs, spices and other flavorings to the jar. Next, in a bowl or large measuring cup, combine the salt and cold water. Start with about 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water; you can vary the amount to taste. Stir until the salt is dissolved, and then pour this salt solution brine into the jars, making sure the cucumbers are fully submerged. Let the jars sit at room temperature for two or three days. Some folks seal the brining jars while they sit on the counter, but I prefer to create an air-permeable temporary lid using a double layer of cheesecloth and rubber band.

While it might seem a little weird to leave an unsealed jar of cucumbers on the counter for three days, doing so allows beneficial microbes in the air to work their magic, adding flavor during the fermentation process.

Simple Homemade Pickles

The longer the pickles ferment, the more sour they get. For the best taste and crunch, refrigerate after 3 or 4 days. If any foam forms on the top of the brine, simply skim it off. These pickles will keep for about a week. If you're in for the long haul, you're making a preserved pickle — one made with vinegar and canned in a hot-water bath. This recipe requires just five basic ingredients: fruit, sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves. Kana Okada.

Pickle Recipes

Bread and Butter Pickles. David Prince. Quick Dill Pickles. Pickled Peaches with Pepper. Andrew Purcell. Spicy Pickled Green Beans.

Get the most out of bright and fresh green beans all year long, in a spicy brine. Mary Britton Senseney. Pickled Plums. Transform stone fruit with a salty-sweet brine. Pickled Beets.

Culinary Ginger. English Pickled Onions. Honest Cooking. Pickled Apples in Balsamic.

Brined pickles

My Korean Kitchen. Korean Style Pink Radish Pickles. The Elliot Homestead. Pickled Asparagus.

Your Guide to Homemade Pickles | Frontier Co-op

This blogger claims she's created the "best pickled asparagus recipe known to man. Eat Well Pickled Avocados. Recipe Girl. Pickled Cauliflower. Take Two Tapas. Pickled Red Cabbage. These pickled red onions are loaded with tart, crisp flavor.


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My Catholic Kitchen. Pickled Cherries. Just One Cookbook. Pickled Ginger. Girl Versus Dough. Pickled Rhubarb. Let's Dish. Pickled Tomatoes. Many fresh pack pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks without heat processing. However, discard if you see any signs of spoilage. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a variety of resources for pickling a various vegetables.

All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Pickling basics. Home Food, health and nutrition Food safety Preserving and preparing Pickling basics. Other ingredients.