A good taste of summer, in the winter!

I don’t often post recipes here, cos I don’t think I make many things that are so unusual.  But several people I know have asked me how to make freezer pickles so I thought I’d share it here in case anybody wants an easy thing that tastes really good in the winter.

I currently have a slew of nice cucumbers and have shared a lot and we’ve eaten a lot, so it’s time to preserve some. These are heirloom cukes called Straight 8’s and the skins are so thin and tasty that they never need peeled, unlike the ones we get in the winter from the grocery stores.

I use about 6 or 7 nice sized ones, with a good big white onion, a little sweet red pepper, celery seed and fresh dill.  I slice all the veggies with my mandolin slicer for thin (about 1/8″) and uniform slices.  (If you have/use a mandolin, be oh so careful.  The blades on mine would send me to urgent care for stitches if I wasn’t paying close attention.)  All that makes about 6 containers of the size pictured above.

I cut the onion and cuke  and put them in a big bowl.  (Keep the red pepper out of that and add it to the containers later.) Add about a table spoon of salt (I like the texture of kosher salt) and spread it around among the veggies and mix it all up with your hands, to mix the salt around.  Don’t drain or rinse that then; the salt  will draw a little moisture from the veggies and that’s ok. (Don’t add that salt water to your containers, just let it in the bottom of your bowl when you’re taking the cukes and onions out by handfuls, then discard it.)  Let all that sit for about half an hour to  blend the salt into the veggies a little.

While that’s sitting you can mix up your syrup. For that amount of ingredients, I use my syrup recipe  x3, to make enough to almost cover the veggies in the containers.  For the syrup, my best mixture is 1 1/4 cups of sugar added to 1 cup of a good quality white vinegar. Stir the mixture well to make sure the sugar is dissolved.

Once you’ve done that, start to put your containers of goodies together.  Put a little red pepper in each container, a couple good shakes of celery seed, and a sprig of fresh dill.  Then pile in the cukes and onions, leaving some head room at the top of each container, not packed clear full.  Then add the syrup, enough to almost cover all the ingredients.

I like just a little kick in mine, but some people don’t like anything hot.  In this many containers, I cut up just  half of a green jalapeno (not red, they are hotter) and add those pieces to each container.

That was easy, and it’s all made!   Put the containers in the fridge for about 12 hours, to let the flavors blend together before the syrup freezes.  Shake each container a little before you put them in the fridge, to mix things up some.  Then into the freezer they go. Shake them up again before you put them in the freezer.

I don’t can any more and this is a good way to have a good tasting, refreshing summer salad on some cold days when nothing fresh grows any more near you and you have to rely on what comes from grocery store.  They lose some of their crispness but not all, and can be kept for months in the freezer. All the better if you were able to grow some of the ingredients yourself; the blessings that the good earth provides to those lucky enough to be able to grow a garden.

An easy list for shopping or gathering:

cucumbers, white onion, sweet red pepper, fresh dill, dried celery seeds, sugar, white vinegar, jalapeno if you like a little kick

If you make this, I hope you enjoy the taste of summer in the winter.

 

 

 

9 responses to “A good taste of summer, in the winter!

  1. Looking very delicious… This post made me feel hungry. Can I have some ice cream, please? 😉
    Happy gardening, my friend!

    • These lose I’d say half their crispness; still some crunch to them even after they’ve been frozen for several months. And these are super easy to make. My 2 cuke plants have produced well over 100 lbs of cukes this year, so it was time to make some of these. Last year it was humid and rained and was awful for growing; I had blight on the tomatoes and mildew on cukes and squash. This year has been great!

      • Half? hmmm, I don’t know how crisp the pickles we made were after canning. I remember they were reasonably intact, but quite flimsy. I did not care though, because they were so good.

      • Oh, yes. Canning is done only because of the abundance. Really, it is sort of redundant to pickling. It is like preserving twice.

      • I would like to freeze more, but have been unable to do so without electricity. There is a freezer here, where we put things for the guys who work here. I also use the freezer to collect enough blackberries for jam and jelly. I collect them only in small quantities, but collectively, I get enough.

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