I may have mentioned it already, but I have a cucumber problem this year. I haven’t had a cucumber problem in many, many years. I can only assume that our relatively cool summer prevented the nasty powdery mildew and other humidity related diseases that eventually do in all of my curcurbits. In surveying my cucumber bounty, I knew there was only one answer, to pickle some of them. Big Sis and I have already shared some pickle preparations, but they aren’t really meant for the long haul, sort of more of a 10 day window on those puppies. My past experiences with hot water canning for pickles left a bad and totally non crunchy pickle taste in my mouth.
And so in honor of our cool summer, I turned from one temperature extreme to the other in search of a perfect freezer pickle recipe. I found this one, and then didn’t follow it. 🙂 Who on earth needs 4 cups of sugar in anything? Not this momma. And I assume that the turmeric was added for the sake of color – to make them look more like commercial pickles, which use yellow food dye to look like what? What would happen if we all just decided greenish pickles are okay? But, I digress. I hustled out to the store and picked up some of these babies. I could use glass, and with a vinegar based brine I usually would, however, one of my kids’ new chores is to do the fetch it run from the downstairs freezer and I had visions of freezer pickles all over the basement. So I went with plastic.
This couldn’t have been easier. These won’t last as long as water bath pickles would, but given the reaction my kids had to the batch I prepared last week, they won’t make it until winter anyway.
Super Easy Freezer Pickles
- 8 pounds cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2T salt
- 1 1/2 c maple syrup (oh yes I did)
- 1 c white vinegar
- 1 c apple cider vinegar
- 1 t celery seed
- 1 t mustard seed
In a large container (I had to use my largest pot), combine cucumbers, onion, and salt and let sit for 3 hours, stirring periodically. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse cucumbers and onions. Add liquid to cucumbers (being sure to get them out of the strainer first… I’ve done such things). Pack in 1 pint containers, being sure to leave at least an inch at the top for freezer expansion. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Thaw in fridge, consume with a week or so. Crunchy, sour, sweet, delish!
Okay you fabulous people. I had no idea that so many others had experienced the pain of my pickle …. perplexity…. ok, that’s not a word, but it just had to be a “p” word (and the pre-K crowd goes wild….). I have learned a great deal since posting about my frustration with standard pickles bought from an above average American grocery store. My key conclusion: I will not likely be buying pickles again, and if I do, it will be something like Bubbie’s fermented pickles. The price of these all natural probiotic beauties, however, makes them a candidate for a special treat rather than everyday lunch purchasing. Other conclusions I’ve drawn: pickles are both a flavor and a process, and it is useful to figure out what you’re after if you want to satisfy your most dear pickle cravings. I’ve realized that most of my pickle cravings are flavor rather than process or probiotic related, and so I am particularly interested in fresh and refrigerator pickles at the moment. But WOW! did I get some great suggestions.
A quick gleaning of your wisdom (and an overwhelming craving for BBQ – which I satisfied with seitan, something we’ll discuss when I get it down) led me to put together what I can only humbly and realistically call a sweet and sour pickle salad. The children were unimpressed, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Frankly after giving them the equivalent of Lucky Charms pickles, I’m not sure I’ll ever get them to eat the real deal. My husband and I enjoyed them immensely, eating them as a side dish, layering them on top of our BBQ, eating them straight out of the bowl, yes it was a bit of a fresh pickle orgy. So, while simple, I thought I’d share with you my quick not quite pickle recipe in case you, too, are reeling from my pickle revelations. These still have more sugar than I would like, but I guess I need a little weaning where my pickle expectations are concerned as well.
Chemical Free Simply Fabu Sweet and Sour Pickles
- 1 large English style or 2 medium whatever you have on hand pickles (this is still me – please don’t get stuck on the type of cuke for pity’s sake)
- 1/4 onion cut into slices (or however your crew will eat them)
- 2 c water
- 4T sugar
- 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
- 1/2t celery seeds
- 3t salt
- 1t mustard seeds
Slice cucumber however you like. Put cukes and onions in bowl that will hold your cukes and some liquid – ideally to cover cukes. Bring water just to a boil and add sugar – take off heat to avoid scalding sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Add other ingredients and stir. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Pour over cukes and allow to sit for at least half an hour. Longer would be better and a chill would be nice too. We ate ours at room temp and straight out of the bowl until all that was left was the brine. De-lish and no HFCS or Yellow 5 in sight. The cucumber plants that are growing like crazy are all the more lovely to me now. Soon we shall be drowning in cukes for me to experiment with. And thanks to your generosity I have many options to choose from. Can’t wait.