We’ve had such a dry summer this year that our garden isn’t doing much of anything right now. We have cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and onions at the moment, but that is about it. Our potato plants have died off and we’re not sure if the other five rows that we planted will go anywhere without some rain soon. The peas are done and the late peas might not show up. Same with the beans and our carrots never even germinated.
So, I decided to take what I could get out of it now and get to work. I managed to pick enough pickling cucumbers, jalapeno peppers and even a red pepper to start some 3 day pickles. Our dill plant was struggling anyway; now it’s been put to a peaceful end.
I’ve been sorting through recipes for 3 day brine pickles and came upon this one at Frugally Sustainable. A few modifications were made (mainly because I didn’t have any pickling spice and I wanted to put some red pepper flakes in there), but it seems to be a winner. There is definitely a little heat to these pickles. I liked her suggestion to cut a small onion in half and jam it into the tops of the jars in order to keep the pickles submerged in the brine. It worked! And like old-fashioned crock pickles, these are based on fermentation, so can be kept in cold storage (refrigerator or root cellar) without canning for 6-12 months. I doubt these will make it past the end of the summer, but it’s nice to know that they could.
The small squeaky kid said something about me being pickled. I had to ask her not to go around telling people that mommy was pickled and explain to her what that meant.
3 Day Pickles (Refrigerator Pickles)
makes 4 quarts
- 20 pickling cucumbers (mine were a little big, so I used less)
- jalapeno peppers/sliced red or green peppers
- head of garlic
- fresh dill
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- celery seed, to taste
- black peppercorns
- 2 medium yellow onions, optional
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (raw, organic)
- 1/3 cup sea salt
- Mix all of the ingredients of the brine together in a pitcher and stir until salt is dissolved. Set aside.
- Wash your cucumbers, slice into quarters lengthwise. Wash and prepare pepper by cutting into strips. Leave the jalapenos whole.
- In each quart-sized glass canning jar, place enough dill heads to cover the bottom of the jar (I packed in a lot of dill), 4-6 cloves of garlic (depending on taste), a pinch of pepper flakes and celery seed, a few peppercorns and sliced cucumbers, tightly packed. Pierce the skin of the jalapenos slightly and shove into any spaces between the cucumbers. Pack strips of red or green peppers into the remaining spaces.
- Pour the brine over the cucumbers and spices in each of the jars. Be sure that the cucumbers are covered with the liquid. Optional: Use 1/2 an onion to weight down and keep cucumbers submerged in the brine.
- Cover the jars with either a small piece of cheesecloth or lightly screw on the lids (don’t tighten the lids – the fermentation process might make them blow their tops). Put them away in a dark spot (I put mine in a storage room in the basement) for 2-3 days. Once they taste like pickles, tighten the lids on the jars and transfer to cold storage (i.e. refrigerator or root cellar). These will keep for up to 6-12 months.
Note: the brine may appear a little cloudy, but it is fine – it’s just a normal part of the fermentation process. Also, occasionally people will encounter their garlic turning blue – this is due to copper or another chemical in the water that the garlic is reacting to – it’s still completely safe to eat, it just looks weird. My water doesn’t create this problem, but if you aren’t using a well or have hard water or city water, filtered water might be best.