My grandmother made the BEST pickles. They were the *best* because they were what we were used to having for a pickle. They were simply pickle cukes, vinegar, salt, garlic cloves and fresh dill. All packed in a crock lined with muslin on the front porch. We would take the lid off, lay back the muslin, dig through a couple inches of fresh dill and garlic to find a treasure swimming beneath... mmmm... the memory is pretty vivid. I canned some pickles years later with my grandmother's recipe only to discover that processed cucumbers don't stay crunchy so that's where Claussen pickles came into the picture.
We had a big wave of cucumbers come on the past week or so and I had to figure out what to do. I didn't really want to dehydrate a bunch of them... I didn't think my year of dill dip was going to warrant such a task so with the previous memory in mind I searched the web for refrigerator pickles. I like to can stuff because it doesn't take up precious refrigerator/freezer space but in this case if I could find the right recipe I would be willing to make some concessions.
I found this one and this one that were the basis of my rendition. There were others that were much more basic that gave me the encouragement just to try the counter top/refrigerator method but ultimately these narrowed the vast playing field of pickle making.
We don't grow pickle sized cukes and I think we let them get a little too large in general so I went ahead and cut them into deli spears and they packed quite lovely.
I only made a couple of jars because I didn't want a bunch of gross tasting pickles on hand if my recipe went awry. But only after the second day I was sure that my concoction was an overwhelming success!!
Here they are pickling away!!
Okay, so here is Settles Pickles (no more Claussen)...
Combine on stove top until all is dissolved:
2 quarts of water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
I used large pickle jars that a friend gave me from her deli (I think they are about a quart and a half) and in the bottom of each jar I put:
2T minced garlic
2t dill seed
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick crumbled
pinch of red pepper flakes
Pack your cukes in each jar and pour the *cooled* brine over the top to cover the veggie. Give it a gentle couple of flips to get all the spices moving around and let sit on the counter for four days giving them a flip occasionally. Then transfer into the fridge. I've read different accounts of how long they will last - any where from six months to a year. I'll just figure that you're wise enough to make that determination.