Staring down a bumper crop of cucumbers, my stepmother's family didn't ask, "What kind of pickles should we make?" They asked, "How many different kinds of pickles can we make?" Sours and bread & butter, plus a spicy garlic pickle were always at the top of the list. For a quick pickle project that keeps well for months and requires no special equipment, they would pull out their recipe for freezer pickles. If these goods happened to make it to December without getting gobbled up, the freezer pickles would often find their way into Christmas and New Year’s gifts for friends and family.
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- 1½ cups of cider vinegar
- ¾ cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 1 pound of sliced pickling cucumbers
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced (one green and one red make a nice presentation)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- In a small or medium saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaf and and sugar over medium heat, until the sugar and salt have dissolved and the vinegar comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, rinse and slice the cucumbers.
- Place all of the vegetables in a bowl. Pour the vinegar solution over the vegetables, just covering the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
- Stir occasionally over the next 2 days.
- After about 2 days, divide the pickles into freezer containers or jars, label them with the date, and then store them in the freezer. Pickles should keep in the freezer for several months.