Are you a pickle fan, like I’m a pickle fan? Are you overrun with cucumbers (from friends with gardens, or from your own), like I am overrun with cucumbers? Well, then…this simple copycat recipe for Claussen-style pickles is for you! Right here? This is pickle heaven!
I know several people who have made these Claussen-style pickle knockoffs; I have always wanted to make them too, but just never seemed to have enough cucumbers that I wasn’t stuffing into salads, eating sliced and dipped into some homemade Ranch-style dressing, or putting into Pickled Cucumber Dips.
This year, though, I have been overrun with cucumbers! Before you start congratulating me on the success of my cucumber crop from Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden, let me say that the cucumbers I am overrun with are not my own. Yet.
My own cucumber plants are loaded with blooms and I have harvested a grand total of five. I started my garden with seeds and most of my friends started with plants, and got them in the ground earlier than I did. So, the cucumbers I used were from my friend Jack (of Southern-style Mustard Potato Salad fame), and my sister.
We are currently over twenty inches above normal for the year in rainfall. This has resulted in a bumper crop of cucumbers! I was going to an event and riding with Jack and his wife, Donna. Jack asked me if I wanted cucumbers…and never being one to turn down a bag of free produce, I said yes. Until I saw them, that is. They were huge fat cucumbers…just enormous. So, I said to Jack, “I really don’t think I could do anything with all of those monster cucumbers!” There were so many, and they were so large there was no way they would make pickles.
Well, Jack being the ever practical man that he is replied, “You can make pickle SPEARS with them! Duh!” He didn’t really say, “duh.” But he should have…I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself! So, that load of cucumbers equaled three gallons of Claussen knockoff pickles.
No sooner did I have them in jars brining than my sister brought me an equally enormous basket full of cucumbers from her garden. Seriously, people…I’m going to have my OWN cucumbers soon! Yikes! You guessed it, her batch of cucumbers yielded another three gallons of pickles. Well, plus a quart, in case anyone is counting.
Y’all that is SIX gallons (plus a quart) of pickles! That might, I mean just might, last me six months; just in case you were worrying about what would become of my own cucumbers, I’ll be making enough of these to last a full year. *wink*
Of course, you don’t have to make six gallons of pickles, but you really should try making some of these pickles if you are a fan of Claussen’s. They retain the same really crisp texture, the flavour is absolutely fantastic, they are reeeeeheally easy to make; they are the perfect answer for an overabundance of cucumbers!
The one caveat is: do not use store-bought cucumbers, as they have a wax on the skin and will not work properly. You can use store-bought pickling cucumbers, which are not waxed. Or, head to your local farmer’s market and buy some cucumbers straight from the field.
Also, the recipe is for the brine for a gallon of pickles, you can cut it down for a smaller batch (but you’ll wish you did the gallon of pickles, I promise). If you are using multiple jars, like I did, you will want to strain the brine through a small mesh colander and then evenly distribute the solids into the jars.
Three days later? Ta da! Pickles! Make ‘em!
- FOR THE BRINE:
- 1½ quarts water
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup canning salt (it’s important to use canning or pickling salt)
- ⅓ cup instant (dehydrated) minced onion
- 1½ tablespoon peppercorns
- ½ tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- FOR THE PICKLES
- Cucumbers, scrubbed clean with a vegetable brush, cut length-wise either in half, quarters, or eighths (depending on the size)
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed (I doubled this from the recipe and didn’t mince them)
- 6 heads fresh dill (or 4 teaspoons seeds for the gallon)
- Sterilize your jars by immersing them in boiling water.
- Remove from the boiling water and place on a clean, dry towel.
- In a large, nonreactive pan, place the water, vinegar, salt, minced onion, peppercorns, mustard seeds and crushed red pepper flakes.(If you are using dill seed rather than fresh, add the seeds to the pan too.)
- Bring the brine to a boil to dissolve the salt, then allow to cool.
- If using fresh dill, add it to the sterilized jars along with the garlic cloves.
- Slice cucumbers lengthwise into quarters (or eighths as I did with larger cucumbers); pack into the sterilized jars along with the dill and garlic cloves.
- If you are using more than one jar, strain the solids from the brine by pouring the brine into another large pan, using a fine-mesh colander to trap the seasonings.
- Stir the seasonings in the colander to mix well, then using a spoon evenly distribute them between the jars you are using.
- Pour the cooled brine over pickles.
- Put the lid on the jar, and turn the pickles a few times to distribute the seasoning through the pickles.
- Loosen the lid and allow to sit on the counter for three days, shaking or turning them occasionally,
- On the fourth day, refrigerate the pickles.
- The Food.com recipe says they will keep in the refrigerator for a year…mine won’t last that long to test that theory. *wink*