Today it was 108 degrees in the shade. My chickens are panting on the regular and my garden is all but fried. I have a few hold outs - armenian cucumbers, some sad looking pumpkin seedlings, okra, and some yard-long beans. Other than that, we are well on our way to kaput.
However, now is the time that I am trying to preserve the harvest. I'm freezing tomatoes for making sauce later on. I'm making and freezing pesto. And today, I tried my hand at making refrigerator pickles.
Quickly, before I get to the recipe, I have a confession to make. A confession that means you, dear reader, might take away my self-applied moniker of "homesteader." The confession is this:
I have never canned anything.
There I said it and now we can all move on. Canning intimidates me! I decided to start small and easy. We've been getting a lot of cucumbers lately and I decided to try my hand at making refrigerator pickles, which don't really take any true canning skills. I drew heavily from the recommendations in Martha Stewart's recipe.
Here's what i did....
8 cups sliced cucumbers (I use this mandolin to cut my cucumbers and am very happy with it)
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
1 1/2 tsp mustard seed
1. Toss cucumbers, onion and salt - set aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Divide cucumber mixture between four pint-sized canning jars.
4. Pour vinegar mixture over. (Invest in a canning funnel - SO worth it.)
5. Put a lid on and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Note: I did sterilize my jars and lids before using them. I'm not really sure if it is necessary to do this step if you are just making refrigerator pickles, but I felt safer knowing I had done it - certainly didn't hurt anything.