The Savvy Housekeeper loves pickles.
I entered into the world of pickling when I ended up with an overly abundant crop of lemon cucumbers. The pickles were so easy to make that I have virtually stopped buying pickles from the store and now make my own. The above pictures is a recent jar of pickles right after I put it in the fridge.
There are several types of pickles. For instance, there are fermented pickles, where vegetables are soaked in a brine for months and a lactic acid bacteria grows and turns them into pickles. Usually when people complain that making pickles is troublesome, they are talking about fermented pickles. I make their faster, safer cousins–refrigerator pickles. With refrigerator pickles, vegetables simply sit in a brine in your fridge for a few days and turn into pickles. I’ve tried this recipe multiple times with different vegetables–carrots, zucchini, etc.–and it has always been delicious.
Half of an onion, thinly sliced
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 cup water
1.5 cup vinegar–cider or champagne vinegar is preferable, but white vinegar works.
.5 cup sugar
2 Tbs plus 2 tsp kosher salt or a little under 3 Tbs of salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
.25 tsp turmeric
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp pickling spice (a mix of cayenne pepper, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, parsley, onion powder, black pepper, mustard, etc.)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1. Slice onion and cucumbers. Combine in a jar.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices.
3. Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the onion and cucumber slice, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.
That’s it! Let the pickles sit in your fridge for at least 4 days. My last batch took two weeks to turn into pickles.
A note on pickling spices: Once I didn’t have any pickling spices, so I winged it with spices in my cupboard. The pickles tasted the same.
Cost of Dish: Cucumbers: $1, Onion: ~$.10, Water: free, Vinegar: $.25 (a large jug from Costco is $2.99), Sugar: $.10, Spices: ~$.25 (an estimate), garlic: free from the garden.
Total: $1.70 for one 20 oz jar of pickles, or $.09/oz.
In the Store: $3.99 for a 16 oz jar of pickles, or $.25/oz.
Approximate Savings: $.16/oz. Making pickles at home will save you 64%, more than half the price of buying a jar of pickles in the store.
You can save even more if you grow the cucumbers yourself.