General Question

occ's avatar

Any good recipes for making pickles?

Asked by occ (4051points) April 23rd, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

lidyah's avatar

Sterilize your jars & lids. Meanwhile, bring to boil a big pot of water and white vinegar (I think it’s a one-to-one ratio, but if someone else knows the answer please share).

When the brine is getting hot, stuff your jars with cucumbers. It’s important to get them in as tightly as possible, while still leaving some room for brine. Add 2–3 peeled cloves of garlic, a fresh grape leaf, a handful of fresh dill, and a scoop of alum to each jar.

Fill the jars with hot (it should be boiling, really) brine to within a 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. Quickly put the lid on and screw it tight.

The jars should seal as they cool. In an hour, check to see that all the jars “popped.” Unstuff and re-do any that haven’t.

We also add hot chile sauce to our pickles, but you may want to leave that out.

peedub's avatar

What about any other spices, like coriander seed, or anything?
Not that there should be, I’ve just seen pickling spice packets with all sorts of spices in them, but a purest approach might be better for one’s initial batch.
I’m totally interested.

lidyah's avatar

We never add anything else but what I listed… but I think traditional recipes might call for coriander. Wouldn’t hurt to try, right?

I do have to say though, these are the most insanely delicious pickles I have ever tasted- no question. We make them every year.

occ's avatar

Thanks, Lidyah!
What is alum?
And does it matter what kind of cucumbers I use?
also, how long do you let them sit and turn to pickles in the jars before you eat them?

lidyah's avatar

Alum can be found in the spice aisle at the grocery store. I don’t exactly know what it is (could this be another Fluther question??), but I remember from childhood experiments that if you put a dash on your tongue, it sort of “sucks up” the liquid in your mouth. It’s a white powder, sort of like baking powder.

Anyhow, the alum is critical because it makes the pickles crunchy. I think this is where many homemade pickle jobs go bad, frankly.

Small pickling cucumbers are best. I’ve never tried it with large ones- might want to cut them into spears or slices. Not sure if they’ll work or not.

To sterilize the jars & lids, you can do one of two things: first option is to run them through the dishwasher on a hot temperature. Second option is to lower them carefully into a huge pot of boiling water (big enough that you cover them entirely). Let them boil for 10–15 minutes. They should be sterile after that.

Be sure that you always use new canning lids. The rings are reusable as long as there’s no rust or disfiguration, but the lids aren’t meant to be used more than once- the seal dosen’t last.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can throw some other vegetables in jars while you’re making the pickles. Onions, carrots, green tomatoes, etc.

Oh- and we usually wait about 6–8 weeks until opening the pickles (we always make ours on Labor Day. They’re usually done in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas).... but you might find that they’re done in 4–6 weeks. Open a jar and find out. If they’re not done, just keep the jar in the fridge and try them again in another week or two.

ppcakes's avatar

wow, lidyah, i thought i knew a lot about pickles. waiting so long for pickles must be torture. i might try making them one day!

cheebdragon's avatar

my grandma pickled some pickles one time, seriously she bought a jar of pickles and then pickled them. They were good, not sure what she used though.

b's avatar

I would skip the alum. It does not add flavor, but is used as an additive to make the pickels crispier. It can also be harmful in large doses. According to wikipedia alum is used for makeup, deodorants, shaving needs, fire retardents, and hair stiffeners.
Also, I am a purist and only like garlic and dill in my pickels (but not purist enough for brine only solution). I think the corriander and other additives throws off the flavor. Other than that lidyah’s recipe is spot on.

peedub's avatar

Yeah, what’s up with brine only (or maybe I am thinking sans-vinegar)? Is that a purest thing? I have some in the fridge right now boasting ‘no vinegar [is ultra-pure brine?]

They are damn good.

ppcakes's avatar

@peedub, please share the wealth, i only have one pickle left =[

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