This year my cucumbers did absolutely horrible. The plants were attacked by both squash bugs and cucumber beetles before they ever really had a chance to get going. i had to pull many of my plants, but i had a few hang on and produce a few small cucumbers. Although i was picking a cucumber here and there, most of them were really small and deformed and i knew i would never gather up enough for a batch of pickles.
The recipe i use for refrigerator pickles makes one gallon of pickles. In the past i broke the recipe down to quarts, since i didn't have any gallon jars. i also didn't have room in my fridge for 4 quarts, so i would make two at a time. Since i was only getting a few cucumbers at a time this year, i decided to break the recipe down into pints.
i found it's incredibly quick and easy to make one pint of pickles. Refrigerator pickles can last up to two months in the fridge, and because they are not canned/processed you don't have to sterilize the jars. Just wash in hot soapy water, rinse well and you are ready to go.
cucumbers (i used two small)
1/2 Tbsp dill seed, small dill head or a small bunch of dill weed.
1/2 Tbsp whole peppercorns1 whole clove garlic (peeled)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs vinegar
1 Tbs pickling salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Peel garlic and place 1 clove in bottom of pint jar, add dill and peppercorns. Wash cucumbers and cut in slices or spears. Pack into pint jar.
Combine water, vinegar, sugar (if using) and pickling salt in a non-corrosive pot and heat until boiling. Microwave works well too and only takes about 2 min. ;)
Now pour hot brine over cucumbers leaving about 1/4-1/2 headspace. It's okay if you don't use all the brine. Let cool completely, and then put the lid on and tighten ring.
That's it. Place in fridge and allow them to 'pickle' for one week before opening for the best flavor. i always taste them after a day or two, and keep nibbling and by the time the week is up most of the pickles are gone. :) So it really just depends on the flavor you're looking for. They get stronger with age and will last up to 2 months in the fridge. i've been playing around with the dill using a combination of seeds and dill weed. The different parts of the dill plant each offer a slightly different flavor.
So far i've only managed to pick enough cucumbers for 3 pints. i have new plants coming up and am hoping that i end up with a few more cucumbers before the fall. i was disappointed that my plants did so poorly, but still grateful to get enough cucumbers for a few pints of pickles in my fridge.