Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Making Homemade Pickles: The Cheater Pants Method

Boar's Head PicklesOr: How Making Pickles Can Be Easier Than Fixing a Bowl of Cold Cereal.

I think you're aware that this is the time of year when people are being so domestic and canning fruit, making jam or pickling cucumbers but I'm going to share with you a secret that will probably change your view on making homemade pickles. Forever.

You see here to the right a picture of the very best pickles on the planet. Boar's Head Sweet Pickle Chips with Horseradish. Now normally I'm not one to sing the joys of horseradish, I've always thought it a bit of a nasty except when accompanied by a big fat slab of prime rib. However, I have made an exception because these pickles are really tasty, as in "I'm going to finish off the jar now thank you very much."

Making Homemade PicklesBut what you don't realize that this jar is unsatisfactorily small and it only took me about three sittings to eat all my tasty pickles, leaving me sad and confused. And it didn't help that Spencer discovered how good they are and now likes them too. Not enough to go around.

Solution? Save that precious brine and throw in more cucumbers and you'll have more pickles in no time at all! It's so easy I'm surprised it took me this long to figure it out but the brine is just vinegar, spices and horseradish so it's pretty much indestructible. When the world has ended there will still be brine so why not reuse it and get your money's worth?

Making Homemade PicklesYou'll want to use pickling cucumbers if you can because they're small and dense and suited for pickling but you can still use other kinds if necessary (I would think English cucumbers would be better than the regular variety). Slice 'em up and stick them in a jar with your reserved brine (any brand will do), wait about 10 days and you're ready to go.

Isn't that jar so pretty? You'd think I'd actually done something time consuming. To me they even taste fresher and better than the originals.

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18 comments:

Jennifer said...

Brilliant! How come I never thought of this before??? Of course, now I have to go buy some of these pickles because I too love horseradish, though my favorite way to eat it is on an oyster with ketchup and a cracker.

Kathy G said...

You can also use the brine to pickle vegetables OTHER than cucumbers. I particularly like onions, which I slice and add to the jar, but once I heated the leftover liquid, blanched green beans in it, and returned everything to the jar. After a couple of days they beans were SO good!

Melissa said...

That's a great idea!! I am not a fan of horseradish at all, but I might have to try this.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Wages is a brand of you add water, vinegar, salt and presto you have pickles. Mother use to do 14 or 21 days and liked to kill herself making pickles. Your method is a lot like Mrs. Wages but easier!

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

Well instead of tossing out all that old brine from my pickle jar looks like I am just going to be adding more cucumbers. You have some awesome tips and perhaps I will get to do two of my summer projects after all.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

We actually have three or four jars empty of pickles in our fridge right now just waiting for us to try this. Nice to hear a positive report before we do!

Just Mom said...

I LOVE this money-saving idea!

M said...

LOL - I make refrigerator pickles and reuse MY brine, but never reused the store variety. I'll have to give that horseradish brine a try. Yum!

Amber @ Classic Housewife said...

How cool is that!?
(I've never tried horseradish - I'll have to take your word for it.)

illahee said...

looks great! yum!

Danielle a.k.a Yellie said...

Mmmm, yummy, and oh so easy! Thank you for the tip!

Chrissy Johnson said...

I am slapping my forehead right now! What a great idea for conservation!

Fawn said...

Great tip! My mom pickles vegetables using nothing but salt and water -- no vinegar at all! So theoretically it isn't so hard to do. But do you think I've ever actually done it? :P I think it's the "chopping up the vegetables" part that sets me back.

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I actually do this. Tastes fairly good.Take one out and taste to make sure of progress. Also, try screwing on cap tightly and turning upside down if they are not progressing enough.

You can buy Tone's Pickling Spices for under a dollar and add some if not pickle-tasting enough.1/2 teaspoon per pint. Consists of spices,black pepper and red pepper.

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I own the Tone's Pickling Spices but have not tried this part yet. Worth a try.

Anonymous said...

Awesome!! I'm going to try it. MOMM

Tammy said...

I did something similar with olives. A friend brought me some delicious garlic stuffed olives from Napa Valley that had white wine in the vinegar. When I ran out, I saved the liquid and replaced the olives with another brand of garlic stuffed olives and let them steep for a couple of days. Yummy. :-)

Serena said...

Well, aren't you the smarty.