For my entire life, pickles have been a kitchen staple. As a family we enjoyed them in sandwiches, on top of grilled burgers and brats, or straight out of the jar by fork. Growing up, my dad worked construction - meaning incredibly long and sweltering days on end. Years into waking up to terrible cramps, he was let on to the secret of drinking pickle juice to ward off muscle cramps. (It works!) So we tacked on another excuse to stock up. Then, years later, I married Isaac. The man who spent his entire birthday this past year making jars and jars of refrigerator pickles, carefully varying the amounts of spice, garlic, and dill, labeling each jar appropriately. He is a lover of small joys, and I am a lover of traditions: bringing us to year 2 of giving a Saturday to stocking our fridge with pickles and onions!
We started this year by visiting the local farmer's market to find the small cucumbers, onions, garlic, and fresh dill. We made the brine and chopped everything else while it cooled. We worked off this recipe from our friend Genie and it is probably one of the simplest pickle recipes out there, which I love. We've experimented just a little with spices and jalapeños before and have certainly taste tested our fair share from restaurants, shops, and friend's gifts, but honestly, we like them best left plain and simple: salty with the bite of garlic and dill. This recipe is stripped down and most of the ingredients are left without quantities, but rather noted to be "added to taste." We usually put at least 4 cloves of garlic in a jar, with around 2 tsp of peppercorns, and then add the dill sprigs. This brine will fill many jars; so mix it up and see what you like!
This is such a simple summer activity. I don't have any kiddos yet, but they could definitely help out here - placing the chopped ingredients in the jar while you pour the brine overtop and seal. (I feel like there's some joke in here, circling back to the Vlasic stork, but just can't quite get there...)
Here's to simple summer traditions, local produce, and salty snacks forever!