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I. love. pickles. There's really no other way to say it. I can put pickles on most anything or just eat them straight from the jar. Dill or Bread and Butter. I love them all. Even if it's not a cucumber, like carrots, radishes, cauliflower, I love it pickled. In the last of my series of blogs on the flavors of summer, I'll be sharing pickle recipes.

I have tried for years to grow cucumbers in my garden. For whatever reason, my garden will just not grow them. Maybe it's too hot. Maybe it's too dry. I have tried but decided to give up growing cucumbers or any kind of squash. I have to rely on the farmers markets or my sister-in-law to get a few pickling cucumbers to make pickles each year.

Since I love pickles, they really don't stick around very long. So, when I do make them, they are refrigerator pickles. I don't have to deal with canning and waiting for them to cure. I can just cook them and try to wait a few days before eating!

I've included my favorite recipes for dill and bread and butter pickles. I've also included a recipe for pickling other vegetables that can be added to sandwiches or salads.




Easy Garlic Dill Pickles

An Oregon Cottage

Makes 1 quart of pickles

1 quart pickling cucumbers, washed and blossom-ends cut off

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half

1-2 large fresh dill heads

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

1 1/4 cups water

2 tsp pickling spices

1 tbsp + 1 tsp pickling salt

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1. Prepare the quart jars for the cucumbers you have by running through dishwasher or boiling for 10 minutes to sterilize.

2. Place the garlic, dill and red pepper flakes in the bottom of each jar. Pack cucumbers on top leaving 1/2 inch head space.

3. In a large saucepan, combine water, vinegar, spices, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Ladle the brine into each jar leaving 1/4 inch head space. Attach lids.

5. Let cool to room temperature, label the jars, and store in refrigerator. Pickles can be eaten after 3-4 weeks and can last up to 2 months.

Bread and Butter Pickles

Alton Brown

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 cup water

1 cup cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

pinch kosher salt

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp pickling spice

1. Combine onion and cucumber slices in a clean spring-top jar.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors in the spices.

3. Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the onion and cucumber slices, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid.

4. Refrigerate pickles for a week to ripen. They will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator.

Easy Pickled Vegetables

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)

1/4 cup kosher salt

4 cups any combination of shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced red onions, sliced mild chiles, cauliflower

1. Pack vegetables into cleaned jars.

2. Bring vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and water to a boil in a large saucepan. Simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Pour brine over vegetables. Cover and chill until cool. Pickles are best within 2 weeks.

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