Say Pickles!

‘Tis pickling season! You know it’s come when you see mass quantities of Ball jars on sale everywhere. How fortunate are those who have such an overabundance of home-grown vegetables that the only way to deal with them is to pickle and can them? With fresh inspiration from the edu-tent at the Glenwood Sunday Market, and the fortuitous acquisition of a bounty of cucumbers (from a location which I wish not to disclose at this juncture…), I shall pickle.
After making a seriously good batch of refrigerator pickles (bread and butter, of course), I’m left with a sinking feeling. Do I put them in a hot water bath until the jar lids make that popping sound? Do I simply put on the lid and store in the fridge? Dear me, I can’t remember! I choose hot water bath. However, after noticing a slight sediment that has formed in my pickle jars, and confirmation from GSM’s pickling expert Toni that they needn’t be hot water bathed, I have serious regrets. I hope that six months from now, when I crack open that jar in the middle of a Chicago blizzard, that that my dear pickles that tasted so yummy this morning don’t disappoint…. or give me a case of botchulism.
Want to try it yourself?
Easy Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles (courtesy of
8 small pickling cucumbers, washed (not peeled), and very thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
4-1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp crushed dry red pepper flakes
1/2 celery seed (in my case, optional)
1-Combine all ingredients in a soup pot and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally

2-Boil one minute, stirring frequently
3-Pour mixture into a large bowl, cool to room temperature
4-Cover and chill overnight before serving
5-Spoon into jars with tight fitting lids and refrigerate for up to four weeks…. (jury is still out whether or not you can use hot water bath to extend shelf life and seal jars. I’ll let y’all know when I crack them open in a couple months).

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Lauren Warnecke is a freelance writer and editor, focused on dance and cultural criticism in Chicago and across the Midwest. Lauren is the dance critic for the Chicago Tribune, editor of See Chicago Dance, and founder/editor of Art Intercepts, with bylines in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Holding degrees in dance and kinesiology, Lauren is an instructor of dance and exercise science at Loyola University Chicago.

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