Pickles on Porter Street

Two weekends ago our farm stand had a huge bin of cukes or kirby cucumbers. I couldn't resist. I bought about three pounds or so, and resolved that I would make pickles. I love pickles and have tried making them before to varying degrees of success. I always seem to stumble when the jars need proper sterilizing and sealing, so I looked all over for a good refrigerator, or fast pickling method.

Fridge pickles are ready in as little as 48 hours, and really hit their prime in about a week. They will stay for a month or so, but I doubt these will last that long in our fridge.

Update: I think they were best one week after the pickling! But let me know what you think...

6 1 pint jars
4 pounds kirby cucumbers
3 cups distilled white vinegar
3 cups water
4 tablespoons pickling salt (this is salt without iodine to avoid a cloudy solution)
3 tablespoons sugar
12 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar
1 teaspoon pickling spice per jar

Wash and slice the cucumbers into quarters, set aside.

In a large sauce pot (don't use stainless steal!), combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer.

Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices and garlic to each jar. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. Don't break the cucumbers, but they should be firmly arranged in the jar.

Pour the hot brine into each jar, leaving approximately ½ inch headspace. Reserve the rest of the brine to top off a day or so later.

Tap jars gently on countertop to dislodge any trapped air bubbles. Allow the jars to cool for a few hours on the counter top after applying the lids. When they've returned to room temperature, place jars in refrigerator. Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating--but try them every day after 2 days and you will notice changes in the flavor and texture. Use the remainder of the brine to top off what the cukes absorb while in the fridge.