I posted this photo on Facebook last week and several of my family and friends asked for the recipe. I couldn’t post it right away because my recipe is a conglomeration of family and online sources. My grandmother used to make a variety of these pickles which we often ate like a side salad. She called them “Salt & Pepper Pickles.” I took that basic brine, then researched the addition of dill and what made a crunchy Claussen-type pickle. Here is my result. When I make these, I can hardly keep my husband out of the jar until they are cured.
Someone out there may know how to do a heat-sealing on these for shelf life, but I have no interest in doing so because heat would diminish the crispy crunch of the pickles.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Carolyn Burns Bass
10-12 large cucumbers, cut into thin spears or slices
8 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed or cut in half
Several heads of fresh dill, preferably with dill seeds in flower head (appx. 1 oz.)
2 qts. Water
1/2 cup kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp coriander seed (whole)
¼ tsp dill seed
¼ tsp crushed (not powdered) sage
¼ tsp black pepper corns
1 dried cayenne pepper or ¼ tsp of crushed red pepper
To make brine, place salt and half the water a large pot and heat until salt is dissolved (not necessary to bring to boil as long as salt is completely dissolved). Refrigerate to cool completely.
While brine is heating, wash cucumbers well, then trim ends of cucumbers. If you want pickle slices, use a food processor for quick and uniform slices. In one gallon, non-reactive, non-metal bowl, crock or jar, place pickling spices, cut cucumbers, garlic and dill, interspersing the dill and garlic with the cucumbers. Pour vinegar over pickles.
After brine has cooled completely, pour it over cut cucumbers, then fill the jar with the remaining water. If not packing in a jar, place a china or stoneware plate over cucumbers to weigh them down so they are submerged fully in the brine. Cover with lid or plastic wrap.
Leave at room temperature at least eight hours or overnight, then refrigerate for at least two days (one week is best) to let flavors process before opening.
You can pack the pickles in smaller jars for easy storage. Pickles stay deliciously crisp in refrigerator for months.