Pickling cucumbers are produced on a small vine that grows easily and happily in containers, small spaces, or up trellises. It stands to reason, then, that they are great for small gardens, including container gardens. If you have several vines growing up an arbour, or in a small garden plot, you’ll get pickling cucumbers alright, but not many at a time. Fortunately that doesn’t matter. Pickling cucumbers can be stored for up to a week in the fridge, and you can make 1 jar a week if that’s all the cucumbers you get from your plants. Your plants may produce for up to a month or even more, and you can slowly preserve your own pickles by following this method.
Collecting your cucumbers:
Collect your pickling cucumbers each day (even if there is only 1 a day!) at the appropriate size. Wash them carefully, removing stems, dried flower bits, dirt and spines. Spines come off easily just by rubbing them with your hands. Store them in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag with a damp, clean rag. The rag will keep the cucumbers fresh longer. Your cucumbers will last up to a week in the bag. Keep adding to it during the week.
Collecting and storing dill:
Harvest your dill whenever it is ready. (Or buy it). You need the flowering heads as well as the green hairy bits on the stem. Rinse the dill, fold it carefully and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. It will last for many months this way, and can be pulled out and used for your pickles at any time.
Once you have enough to make one jar of pickles, using the recipe below, prepare your brine. The brine can be kept in the fridge in jars with good lids for months as well.
Bring to a boil and keep simmering
- 1 quart pickling or white vinegar
- ¾ cup of pickling salt (don’t use table salt which will soften the pickles)
- 3 quarts boiling water
- Place one peeled clove of garlic in the jar.
- Put in a head of fresh or frozen dill, and a few hairy bits as well.
- Fill your jar with pickling cucumbers.
- Add another head of dill, leaving an inch of space at the top.
- Fill the jar with hot brine, leaving one inch of head space in your jar.
- Wipe down jar rim and neck with a clean cloth.
- Put on prepared lid and ring. Set aside.
- Cool your brine and refrigerate.
- Place jar in a canner with water covering the lid. Heat water to a boil. Boil jar in a canner for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Don’t remove jar until water has stopped boiling. Remove jar and cool on wire rack.
Every week fill another jar! Super easy, and a great way to have your own home-grown pickles even when you don’t have a big garden.
- Only use pickling cucumbers. Regular or long English cucumbers get mushy when they are pickled.
- Make sure your brine is boiling and your jars and lids are hot.
- Allow your pickles to “pickle” for 3-4 weeks before eating. They won’t taste good until then!
- You can use this recipe to pickle beans and carrots too!
This post has been shared on From The Farm Blog Hop #42.