Turn Your Leftover Cucumbers Into Easy Homemade Freezer Pickles

Ingredients for homemade pickles
Ingredients for homemade pickles

If you consider yourself sufficiently pickle savvy, whether making them or eating them, this could be a nice surprise. There's such a thing as freezer pickles, and they're crunchy, colorful, and tasty. They're also simple to make, eschewing standard pickling methods involving boiling water, sanitizing and sealing jars, and hours on end standing in the kitchen. Sure, that laborious method provides a whole lot of pickles -- but it also depletes precious leisure time. With the freezer method, you'll end up with as many pickles as you like, and because the process is less time-consuming, whipping up a new batch is easy when the mood strikes.

Creating your signature freezer pickles isn't much different than using and customizing any dill pickle recipe. Don't fret about getting the right balance of brine components or pickling spices; as with any personalized creative process, simply incorporate flavors and ingredients you already love. Just don't be surprised when the ease of making freezer pickles lessens the stress and lowers inhibitions, giving rise to adventurous pickling and expanded culinary prowess.

That said, there's an obvious departure from ordinary quick-pickling, also known as refrigerator pickling: You'll need a bit of freezer space. Instead of brining in cool fridge temps, your jars of cucumbers, spices, and vinegar hop into frosty freezer chambers at the typical 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Making Freezer Pickles Pop With Flavor

Making homemade pickles from cucumbers
Making homemade pickles from cucumbers - fukume/Shutterstock

In addition to saving time and energy, using a freezer for pickle-making comes with unexpected perks, particularly when relating to the texture and color of the pickles. With the freezer method, you'll leave an inch of space at the top of the jar before placing it in the freezer, which allows expansion of the brine liquid and the natural juices within the cucumbers.

This expansion, along with resulting ice crystals, begins to gently break down cell walls and soften the cucumbers up to a certain point, which is what you want. The lack of oxygen in the jar after liquid expansion, plus the pickling brine, helps preserve the color and texture of your little beauties. And it doesn't take long to happen.

Use a standard quick-pickling recipe, or create your own using vinegar brine with salt, sugar (if desired), garlic cloves, onions, and herbs such as peppercorns, mustard seeds, and dill sprigs. Let the brine simmer and then cool before pouring over sliced or whole cucumbers waiting in jars. Whatever personal tweaks you incorporate, the lidded frozen pickles should be ready to eat within a week and last for six to 12 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before eating -- and save leftover pickle juice for more food-enhancing applications.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.