July 25th, 2012

Frog Bottom Farm Pickles

If you’ve read even a few posts on this blog, you know I’m kind of a farmers’ market junkie. All week I look forward to getting up early on Saturday morning, grabbing our market bags and dashing out the door. I can hardly wait to see what delicious bounty has been harvested for our dining delight!

Our CSA shares from Frog Bottom Farm have been generous – so much so, in fact, that I’ve turned to the farmers for advice and recipes. This recipe for Refrigerator Pickles came from Frog Bottom Farm. I made a batch a few weeks ago as a test before I relayed the recipe to you. Every one of my pickle eating guinea pigs have loved them! I have never made pickles before and they really were as easy as described below.

From Frog Bottom Farm:
“If, like me, you have been meaning to make your own pickles for what seems like a decade now, I am here to tell you: get up from your computer this very instant and go to your kitchen! It takes about nine minutes! These fridge pickles from Donalyn Ketchum are, in a word, perfect. Crunchy, garlicky, and just sour enough, I can’t stop reaching for them. You make a simple brine of water, vinegar, and salt. Then you pour that over cucumbers, garlic, and herbs. Leave the jars alone for a few days, and voila! Pickles! They aren’t canned, so they need to be stored in the fridge. They’ll keep at least a couple months in there — if they last that long!”

Ingredients (3 quarts or 6 pints)

For the brine
•2 quarts water

•1 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

•1/2 cup canning or pickling salt (kosher salt is also fine, but may result in cloudier pickle brine)

For the pickles
•Cucumbers, enough to fit snugly into your jars, washed well and sliced into spears

•Garlic, 1-2 cloves per pint jar or 2-3 cloves per quart jar, smashed and peeled

•Herbs (dill is classic; we also love thyme), 1-2 sprigs per pint jar or 2-4 sprigs per quart jar, rinsed well [note from Merry: I also used rosemary and oregano]


Preparing the jars
1.Clean your jars thoroughly with soap and water. They do not need to be sterilized.

For the brine
1.Combine all brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to be sure the salt dissolves completely. While the mixture is coming to a boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

For the pickles
1.Place a smashed garlic clove or two in the bottom of each jar.

2.Add the sprigs of your chosen herb.

3.Fill the jar the rest of the way with cucumber spears. Really cram them in there — otherwise some spears will float above the brine when you add it, and this can lead to premature spoilage.

4.Add another smashed garlic clove to each jar — wedge it down between some cucumber spears so it won’t float when you add the brine.

5.Pour the simmering brine over the vegetables, being sure they are completely submerged. If your brine isn’t simmering, bring it back to a simmer before pouring it over the vegetables.

6.Put a lid on each jar.

7.Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days (less time when the weather is very hot, more when it’s cold) and then, if you can stand it, put them in the fridge for an additional 1-2 weeks. We usually break into the first jar right away but give the rest of the jars the additional slow fridge fermentation before eating them.

Heavenly pickles!

Thank you, Frog Bottom Farm! www.frogbottomfarm.com

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