Think it’s too late for homemade pickles to bring to holiday gatherings or give away this season? Not with this quick and easy freezer pickle recipe from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. My sister gave me this book—which contains 250 different pickling recipes—for Christmas last year, after I failed miserably at a Thanksgiving pickled-onion attempt. It’s taken me a whole year to try again, but I’m happy to report that last week’s freezer-pickling efforts went much better (like, these are not just edible but really good—crunchy, semi-sweet and a little bit spicy, too). And while most of the recipes in the book require a few weeks fermenting time, freezer dill slices can be made one day and served the next.
Freezer Dill Slices from The Joy Of Pickling
Makes about 4 pints
2 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
3 tablespoons pickling salt [You can use kosher salt or sea salt instead; I did]
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon whole dill seeds
1 cup chopped sweet ripe pepper, such as bell or pimiento, preferably red
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1. In a large bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the salt. Let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, and then drain them.
2. In another bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and stir well. Refrigerate the mixture for 8 to 10 hours.
3. Pack the cucumber slices and liquid in freezer bags or rigid containers and freeze the containers.
4. Thaw the pickle for about 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving it.
Although these pickles are packed in vinegar, their main preserving agent is freezing, Ziedrich points out. “For some reason, cucumber and other vegetable slices packed in vinegar and sugar before freezing don’t turn to mush, but stay crisp. This is a very effective way to preserve not just vegetables but also herbal flavors that weaken or die in canning and drying.”
Because food expands when it freezes, allow about 1/2-inch headspace in whatever you use to freeze pickles in. Frozen pickles can keep for about a year; they’ll keep in the refrigerator for several days.