So, our family tries to make LOTS of pickles with our homegrown cucumbers! Our very basic brine? 1c. Distilled vinegar + 3 c. Distilled water + 1/4 c. pickling salt boiled in a non reactive pot-I an enamel coated cast iron pot. (Makes approx enough for one quart jar, multiply as needed! YES IT NEEDS TO BE *DISTILLED* WATER AND SPECIFICALLY *PICKLING* SALT!! Both are easily found at the grocery store. Also make sure you sterilize your jars properly before starting!
Start with FRESH cucumbers (or green beans, or okra, or green tomatoes, or celery, or carrots, or Cauliflower, or onions… you get my drift lol, use whatever veggies you want, but do NOT use those big store bought cucumbers, they are coated in wax, and you will have a gross soggy mess!) We trim a little sliver off each end of our fresh pickling cucumbers, and cut them in half. ✨??
Next add seasonings to your own taste. Our fav things to add are: lots of fresh dill, fresh halved jalapeños (or Serranos if you want it a bit spicier!) a few whole peppercorns (5-6?) in each jar, a tablespoon of dried mustard seed per jar , a pinch of red pepper flakes, a dried de arbol chili in each jar (or two, or three!???), LOTS of fresh garlic cloves, and a fresh grape leaf in each jar (optional! But it’s an old recipe and it’s supposed to help keep them crispy!! )
You can always mix it up and see what your family likes best! Pour boiling hot brine over the stuffed Mason jars, put on lids/rings, and let them cool slowly! (We hide ours under a mound of quilts for a few hours!) Once cool, tighten lids more if needed, pop them in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours, but 1-2 weeks is better to pickle! The longer they sit, the more flavorful! And Enjoy!
*An important side note: this recipe doesn’t call for boiling/processing/cooking the filled jars. Personally, I think you end up with mushy pickles that way. Therefore the unopened jars should be kept in the refrigerator at ALL times after cooling and are not considered “shelf stable”- although I’ve had mine sealed tight in the fridge unopened and the jars were perfectly fresh & crunchy 2 years later when opened- Once opened, I’d enjoy them within a week or so.