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Our little homestead is producing gangbusters right now. I’ve already put up strawberry, cherry, and raspberry jelly. The blueberries are kicking in and so are the veggies. I’ve got cucumbers coming on strong.
One of the great things about having our own vegetables is I can go shopping for dinner for free in the backyard. We’ve been harvesting lettuce since June and have a salad of some sorts almost daily. Note: If you haven’t, sow another row of lettuce every 2 to 3 weeks to have fresh lettuce all season long.
While I love this time of year, I don’t always have enough cucumbers to make a large batch of pickles. Nor do I always have the time to can them. But you can make any size jar of refrigerator pickles and don’t have to worry about canning them or having a large batch. Plus, they’re sure to come out crunchy as there is no processing time.
When pickling, it’s best to use pickling cucumbers and make sure they’re fresh. To ensure crunchy pickles, cucumbers should be used within 24 hours of picking.
Pioneering Today Bread & Butter Refrigerator Pickle Recipe (Adapted from Ball Blue Book of Canning)
2 cups sliced trimmed pickling cucumbers
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup each sliced red and yellow bell peppers (or any color combo you have on hand)
2 cups white vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon tumeric
2 whole cloves
Wash one quart size mason jar and lid. Wide mouth jars work best when stuffing them for pickles, but the regular mouth will work as well.
Rinse and scrub cucumbers. Cut off the blossom end of the cucumber (it contains enzymes which can soften pickles). Slice evenly, a mandolin works well for uniform shapes when pickling. Cut up all the rest of your vegetables.
Layer vegetables in the clean mason jar. Push down lightly to pack vegetables down and get a few more in. Pack vegetables into jar within a 1/2″ headspace of top of jar. (This just means 1/2″ from the top of the jar) Place jar on a towel folded in thirds.
In a stainless steel sauce pan, combine vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil of medium high heat and boil for 3 minutes.
Using a canning funnel or a ladle, pour pickling liquid over vegetables. You may have a slight amount left over depending on how tightly you packed your jar. Apply lid. Allow to cool 30 minutes and then place in the refrigerator. Pickles should marinate for 2 weeks and use within 3 months. Confession: I taste tested mine after 2 days and have been munching away. The flavor will intensify over time.
Makes 1 quart jar.
To make less or more, simply double or triple the recipe.
What’s your favorite pickle? What are you harvesting in your garden right now?
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.