Homemade pickles take more patience than effort. The wait is quite worth it!
Just about any size cucumber can be used to make pickles. Typically, 5-inch cukes work for dill pickles and 1-1/2-inch cucumbers are ideal for gherkins. You can go exotic and use lemon cucumbers or stay traditional with Kirby cukes. Regardless of the type of cucumber you choose, just be sure it is bright colored, firm and has no soft or discolored spots.
There are a few different methods you can use to make pickles. The traditional canning method produces perfect pickles but may not be convenient if you don't have canning equipment readily available. The refrigerator method is the easiest method for making pickles: simply combine the ingredients and let them pickle in the refrigerator.
Before you cut your cucumbers, rinse them well in cold water. Large cucumbers can be cut any way you like (spears, halves or rounds) while smaller cukes can be left whole.
Though not necessary, homemade pickle die-hards soak cucumbers in a lime solution overnight. Soak between 8 and 12 cucumbers (depending on size) in 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 cup pickling lime and 1/2 cup salt overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse cucumbers and soak them in fresh cold water for 1 hour, repeating with fresh water 3 to 4 times. This makes sure the excess lime is removed from the cucumbers. Proceed with the pickling process.
There are many different types of pickles to choose from and all can be made simply at home with a few different ingredients (although kosher can't unless you're a rabbi!). Gherkins, dills, and bread and butter pickles are the most popular types, but the type you choose is simply a matter of your tastes.
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