I used to think that nothing grew during Texas summers due to the crippling heat, until I started growing cucumbers (well, and okra too). They don’t just “survive”, they thrive! Every year I’m shocked how fast they grow. I’m almost always left with a surplus since I can’t eat them fast enough. Making pickles is a great way to ensure you don’t waste any cucumbers and if you seal them, the pickles will be shelf stable for up to a year.
It may seem daunting to make your own pickles, but actually, it is extremely easy. If you don’t have a garden yet, or didn’t plant cucumbers this year, just stop by the grocery store or farmers market to pick some up.
Materials You Need
- Large stock pot
- Medium saucepan
- 6 wide mouth pint sized jars
- Canning thongs
- Kitchen towel
- 4 lbs cucumber
- 3 cups Apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup pickling salt (or kosher salt if you don’t have pickling salt)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 12 fresh dill sprigs
- 12 garlic cloves
- 6 tsp dill seed
- 3 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 6 tsp mustard seed
- Wash cucumbers well and cut a small amount off each end. For small cucumbers, leave them whole. For larger cucumbers, cut them into spears to ensure they are shorter than the jar. You can also make “hamburger” pickles by slicing them into circles.
- Fill the large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Take the lid off of each jar and place it into the hot water for one minute. Remove the jars and set aside.
- Add vinegar, water, salt and honey to medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the salt and honey are dissolved. Set aside with the lid on so that it stays hot until you need it.
- Add the spices to the bottom of each hot jar:
- 2 sprigs of fresh dill
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dill seed
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- Add the cucumber “pickles”. Pack them as tightly as you can and then place another sprig of dill on top.
- Pour the pickling juice in the jar, leaving just 1/4″ at the top. Remove the bubbles using a knife or chop stick. Run it to the bottom of your jar and bring it to the middle to remove any bubbles. Add more juice (if needed) so only 1/4″ remains at the top.
- Wipe jar rims clean with a paper towel. Add lids and tighten.
- Store the pickles using one of two methods:
- If you want a short shelf life (and less effort), go ahead and place them in your refrigerator. The pickles will be ready in 3 days and should keep for 2-3 months.
- If you want a long shelf life (up to a year), you will need to seal the jars in a water bath.
- Fill stock pot 3/4 full and bring water to boil.
- Turn the stove down to a simmer before you put the jars in.
- To keep the jars from breaking in the hot water, place a tea towel in the bottom or use a round silicone or stainless steel rack. Slightly loosen the lids and place the jars in the hot water using canning thongs on top of the tea towel or rack.
- Return to a boil and boil for 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the lid and let jars sit in hot water for another 5 minutes.
- Take jars out and let sit on a kitchen towel for at least 12 hours.
- Tighten lids and store in cool, dark pantry.