Tag Archives | pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Recipe from the University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension (With notes from Christina Ward)


  • 8 lbs. pickling cucumbers, 3 to 5 inches long

For Brine

  • 2 gallons water
  • 3⁄4 cups canning and pickling salt

Pickling solution

  • 1 1⁄2 quarts vinegar (5% acetic acid)
  • 1⁄2 cup canning and pickling salt
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar (optional…can be safely omitted or reduced depending on personal tastes)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons whole mixed pickling spice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole mustard seed (1 teaspoon per pint jar)
  • 10 to 12 fresh dill heads, washed (1 1⁄2 heads per pint jar), or 1 teaspoon dill seed or dill weed per pint jar
  • (optional) 1 or 2 garlic cloves per jar, peeled


  1. Wash cucumbers carefully. Trim 1⁄16 inch from the blossom end and discard. But leave 1⁄4-inch stem attached.
  2. Prepare brine by dissolving 3⁄4 cups salt in 2 gallons water. Pour over cucumbers, cover and let stand 12 hours. Drain.
  3. Prepare pickling solution of vinegar, 1⁄2 cup salt, sugar and 2 quarts water in a large saucepan. Add mixed pickling spices tied in a clean cheesecloth bag. Heat to boiling. Remove the spice bag.
  4. Pack cucumbers into clean, hot pint or quart jars, leaving 1 ⁄2-inch
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In a Pickle!

Story by Christina Ward
Photography by Joe Laedtke

I recently visited Brooklyn, the fabled land of artisanal foods, curious how the makers there compare to what we in Wisconsin are doing. I saw handcrafted ginger-wasabi marshmallows! Foie-gras flavored mayonnaise made by men whose lips have never touched Pabst Blue Ribbon! With beards coiffed into non-ironic shapes! As I gazed upon a jar of his pickled cucumbers, vivid green and shiny in their jar, one maker explained to me this was a special recipe. No one made them like he did. These pickles had mustard seed, fresh dill flowers, garlic cloves, turmeric, clove, bay leaf and other exotic spices.

As I looked at the jar I slowly realized the truth of this particular pickle. These were Milwaukee-style dills! Once upon a time in Milwaukee’s immigrant past, every busia worth her babushka had a version of this recipe. It was a small epiphany. What we do here — how we eat, and how we make our food — is being watched.

Every region on planet Earth has a variation of pickled food. As a teacher of food preservation, I research the history of recipes. I love meeting and talking with my neighbors … Read More

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