One of my favorite holiday traditions in my extended family is for me to make sour dill pickles as gifts for everyone! For many years I have been making them with the “help” of my best friend’s son who has slowly become more and more helpful as he has grown. Sadly this year the biggest pickle lovers in the family have now moved to other cities and you can’t bring a jar of pickles on the plane. So this year I’m hoping some of you will pick up this tradition and make some pickles as gifts for your friends and family!
Edible gifts are a lot of fun, and I’m heavily in favor of them, but usually they tend to be sweet treats. It can be nice to get a really well made, delicious, special, item like homemade pickles that you can eat without worrying about making yourself sick. My husband’s brothers sometimes devour these in a single sitting. They are that good. They are also very easy to make with just some minimal preparation time. You can also pickle any other kind of vegetable you please, like carrots or beets or green beans if you prefer.
These are a simple fridge pickle, not a fermented pickle. And these aren’t properly canned so you need to keep them in the fridge, not the cupboard. They do take 2 weeks to properly marinate and become pickles so try to make these around 2 weeks before you plan to give them. Admittedly I have not managed that in years as I always have to make them after flying into the city. Just tell the recipient the date when they can eat them (or mark it on the jar).
If you want to learn about proper canning technique (which is great, I just can’t be bothered with it for these gifts) please check out the wonderful, Marisa’s website, Food in Jars, she is the Queen of canning.
Go forth and pickle! And give pickles!
- 6 lbs field cucumbers or small hothouse cucumber (approximately)
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 6 cups water
- 6 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp mustard seeds
- 2 Tbsp dill seeds
- 12 sprigs dill (optional)
- 12 cloves garlic (optional)
- red onion or shallot (optional)
- 6 dried chilies
- 12 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks smashed into pieces
- 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 Tbsp allspice berries
- 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 Tbsp celery seeds
- 6 bay leaves
Note: If this is your first time pickling and you don't have a big whole spices collection (that's normal! I don't expect everyone to be crazy like me), you can usually get something called a "pickling spice mix" in the spices section that you can use in place of the whole spices. It usually includes mustard seeds, coriander seed, cinnamon, bay leaves and sometimes dried ginger. It's meant to kind of give you the classic pickle taste. You should use about 6 to 8 Tbsp for this amount of brine.