So, pickles. I eat a lot of pickles. I think there are certain sandwiches that cannot be eaten without them. And, cheeseburgers just don’t taste right without them. The only thing worse than no pickles is bad pickles.
During my very young days, when my mom was still making my sandwiches, we coined the phrase “9 pickle sandwich” which was my favorite sort. All that meant was “I’ll take whatever you’ve got lady…as long as there are 9 pickles on it.” Why 9? On a sammie made with standard white bread, you can go three regulation pickle chips up, and 3 across, for a total of…yes…9. I abuse elipses, don’t I? I’m starting to come to that conclusion. But, I like them. Just know that I’m aware of the issue.
Anyway, I personally love Best Maid pickles for my day to day pickle usage. Every once in awhile when my sainted mother makes me a sandwich at her house (pimento cheese, usually) she will try to sneak those white kosher pickles on there just to try prove to me that her favorite pickles are better. But she usually has a jar of Best Made pickles hiding way way way in the back of the fridge for when she worries that I’m in a fragile state and pickle switching could be dicey.
Lately, I’ve been eating InAPickle pickles which you can get at our local farmers markets and they are so flipping good. You can find me sometimes standing in the glow of the open fridge, daydreaming with my pinchers in a jar of those. They are sweet and hot. I love them.
But, pickles are funny, really. They are one of those things that everybody used to make themselves. Perhaps not everybody, but many people made them often, canning up the bounty of their gardens for a year round treat. I distinctly remember my Grandma Dean having big jars of pickles in her basement. She did spears in big jars. Or, maybe they were big because I was small. I don’t know. But they were spicy, too.
These are freezer pickles. These are for those of us in that foggy middle-ground who deeply appreciate the heritage art of pickle preserving, but haven’t worked ourselves up to a full blown canning operation. I, personally, have the tools and the will, but have yet to carve out the time. Next week I’m definitely making some jelly and processing the jars and the whole bit. But, I haven’t staged a pickle production, yet. That sounds silly. But, freezer pickles are just that. You slice cucumbers, make a brine, add your goodies, and let them sit to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 days. Then you freeze them. Instead of going down into the basement to grab a jar of pickles that you canned the year before, you just reach into the fridge and grab a freezer container. Thaw them out and they are good for about a week. They are great, actually. They are very fresh and crunchy and taste gardeny in a way that store pickles do not. I’m not giving up my store bought pickles. But these are a treat, and frankly, I like the feeling that I know how to do it.
This recipe makes 4 (8 ounce) jars. Jars are cute. But, you don’t need jars. Use a Tupperware, for all I care. I’m assuming you aren’t nutty enough to keep photographic evidence of every little thing you make so you don’t need your containers to be cute all the time, right? That is all I make because my freezer can be a bit like the Bermuda Triangle. And, Pitts pretty much despises pickles. The kids taunt him with them, to his unending irritation. “Daddy, I’ve got a present for you,” etc. We have had many hilarious conversations about whether you can draw any cultural conclusions about people (me) who ever made a habit of having “movie pickles” at the movie theater. I think it is a sign of great couth. But, a pound of cucumbers makes a perfect batch for me.
Whereas with true canning, you have to be a bit careful about recipes, this allows for a little more free-wheeling experimentation. So if you want sweeter, add more sugar. If you want it hotter, throw in another jalapeno.
Recipe for Freezer Pickles:
1 pound sliced pickle cucumbers
1 medium onion, sliced
2 dried chile arbol (the red things)
2 jalapeno peppers
2 green chile peppers
4 garlic cloves, peeled cut into chunks
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
¾ cup sugar
1-½ cups cider vinegar
¾ cup water
1. Rinse and slice your cucumbers and chop your other vegetables. In a small saucepan, heat the salt, sugar, vinegar and water until the sugar and salt have dissolved and the vinegar has come to a simmer.
2. Place all of the sliced and chopped vegetables in a medium bowl. Pour the vinegar solution over the vegetables. The solution should just cover the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Over the next 48 hours, stir the pickles a few times (and eat a few because they are perfectly delicious even at this stage). After 48 hours, you can put them into a freezer container, or jars, and put them in the freezer. If you are putting them into several containers, try to distribute the various goodies in an equitable manner. And, you will likely have leftover brine. You can just discard it. The pickles will keep happily in the freezer for several months.
You might suspect that I get paid to tout particular products, given how often some names come up, such as InAPickle Pickles. I do not. Nor have I received any in kind payoff like a years supply of pickles. I just actually like some things a great deal. So, I’ll tell you if any company tries to throw money at me. You’ll here me yelling up and down my house from wherever you are. Until then, know that when something is good, works well, tastes great, is made by a great company, or makes me giggle (or angry, for that matter), I’m just letting you know because I like you.