Spicy Dill Refrigerator Pickles

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Spicy Dill Refrigerator Pickles | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

These pickles are fast and easy. It’s been a long-time goal of mine to dabble with pickling. My first batch of pickling cucumbers showed up in the garden this week! I was excited to finally have the opportunity to give pickling a try.

I opted to make my own combination of pickling spices, but you are more than welcome to use a store-bought version. This just allowed me to tailor the spices to my taste buds (surprisingly, despite all my recipes for sweets, I am not a fan of sweet pickles). Refrigerator pickles might not last as long as a traditional pickling and canning, but they are super tasty.

Spicy Dill Refrigerator Pickles

  • 6-8 small-to-medium pickling cucumbers
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced in long, thin slivers
  • 8-9 cloves of garlic, about 3 in each container
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt (Any salt without iodine will work.)
  • 2-4 cups fresh dill weed, depending how much flavor you want (I went heavy.)
  • 3-6 whole dried cayenne peppers depending on the level of desired spice, one in each jar unless you want it really hot
  • 3 quart-sized jars with lids (I used 2 quarts and 2 pints to experiment with different levels of spice.)

Pickling Spices

  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 2 tsp green peppercorns
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 6-8 bay leaves, around 2 per jar

First sanitize your containers. I ran mine through the dishwasher.

Slice cucumbers in quarters or into rounds and set aside. I opted to try both for this experiment.

Next you will prepare all the other ingredients that will be packed in the jars with the cucumbers. Wash the dill. You can chop it or leave the sprigs whole (which is what I did). Halve and then quarter the yellow onion, slice into thin slivers. The garlic cloves should be left whole, but slightly crushed. If using whole, dried cayenne peppers, rip the stem off of each pepper. If these are not available, crushed red pepper will work.

Combine all the pickling spices in a small bowl.

Mix the vinegar, water, cream of tartar, salt and pickling spices in a large sauce pan. Heat all ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost at a boil. Remove from heat once you reach this point. We have a family favorite cook book by Justin Wilson, Home Grown Louisiana Cooking. Wilson’s advice for heating pickling liquid: “Don’t bring to a boil. Stir the liquid with your finger; when it gets too hot to keep your finger in, it’s ready.” As you might guess, Wilson’s cook books have a lot of Louisiana flair and are littered with humorous stories about the culture and food of his era. While certainly not vegetarian, they’re still fun to read.

I’m not actually recommending you to stir the liquid with your finger. I just wanted to give you a general idea of how much to heat the pickling liquid. I cooked all the spices, but if you want a more organized and even system of adding the spices to the individual jars, cook just the vinegar, cream of tartar, salt and water. You can distribute the spices into the jars without heating them.

Let’s pack the jars! I started each jar with one clove of garlic, a small portion of sliced onion, a cayenne pepper, and a chunk of dill. Next, pack down the sliced cucumbers, followed by a second addition of each of the ingredients (if you only want lightly spiced pickles skip the second cayenne). Repeat this process until your jar is tightly packed full of ingredients.

Once the jars are packed, distribute the bay leaves by scooping them out of the heated pickling mixture and placing 1-2 in each jar. Using a funnel, slowly pour the liquid into each of the jars. You’ll notice a lot of the spices stay in the sauce pan. Distribute the remaining spices evenly throughout the jars with a spoon.

Place the lids on the jars and refrigerate. Let the pickles sit for at least 24 hours. If you allow the pickles to rest longer, they will pick up more flavor. I made it a whole 36 hours before cracking open a jar (but that’s why I made 4 jars).

Makes 3 quarts

Ready To Refrigerate

With so many other fresh vegetables and fruits at a surplus right now, I’m ready to move beyond cucumbers. Expect more recipes throughout the summer. :)

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


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