Refrigerator pickles

dill weed

I love pickles. Dill pickles. You can keep your bread and butter pickles, sweet pickles, and any other kind with added sugar. I’ve never liked those. Give me a classic, vinegary, tangy crisp dill pickle. I dice them up for tuna salad, put them on burgers, or eat them right out of the jar.

Since starting my AIP journey, I’ve become even more aware of food labels. I read the label on everything even if I know I can’t eat it. Pretty much all pickles contain artificial colors (yellow 5) and preservatives, which is weird because pickling is a traditional way of preserving foods (though traditional pickles were fermented and no vinegar was used. The tartness was caused by bacteria eating sugars naturally found in the vegetables and converting it to lactic acid). I have been able to find some pickles that use turmeric to add a little yellow color, and I actually prefer the way they look to the kind with yellow 5, which end up a weird artificial yellow, kind of like that awful blue-green relish they put on hot dogs in some parts of the country.

But even these artificial color free pickles have spices in them that aren’t AIP, and I found out I am sensitive to mustard, and mustard usually tends to be one of those spices. So I’ve taken to making my own refrigerator pickles. I get super fresh, beautiful Mediterranean cucumbers from the farmer’s market, along with dill weed flowers and garlic.

If you are strict AIP, use the leafy fronds of the dill instead of the flowers, and omit the pepper, coriander, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes.

  • 1 quart mason jar
  • 1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 dill weed flower heads, preferably ones that have gone to seed, or leafy fronds.
  • 1 cup vinegar, whatever you like. I prefer the cleanness of distilled white vinegar.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • Optional: 1 tbs. whole black peppercorns, 1 tbs. whole coriander seed, 1/2 tbs. mustard seed.

In a small saucepan, bring the water and vinegar to a simmer. Add the salt and garlic and remove from heat. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Cut cucumbers into desired shapes: spears, chips, or sandwich slices. I prefer chips as I can fit more of them into the jar.

Place whatever spices you are using and the dill to the bottom of the jar, then pack in your cucumber. Try to get as much cucumber in the jar as possible, you want it packed very tightly. Pour the hot brine into the jar over the cucumbers, making sure the garlic makes it into the jar. Put a lid on the jar and place it in your refrigerator. Let the pickles sit for at least a few hours, 24 is better, and 2-3 days is best.

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