Tag Archives | pickling

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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Jam on It!

Notes of a Preservation Proselytizer

Story by Christina Ward
Photographs by Jenny Bohr

I’m an evangelist. A googly-eyed true-believer who will chat your ear off about the alchemical magic of canning. I see summer reborn every time I open a jar of claret-colored strawberry jam.  I taste the hard labor of tomato picking in a sturdy quart of marinara sauce. I even itch with the memory of fighting off the blasted mosquitoes and biting ants for the triumph of wild blueberries from Marinette County. My best and most lasting memories are those spent with my grandmother on her farm outside Osseo, Wisconsin. She directed the picking of strawberries, told us stories while we hulled, then transformed those little red devils into best tasting jam I’ve ever had.  Does that make me a foodie? Or just crazy?  For many of us who love food and the art of growing and making delicious meals, preserving the harvest bounty is a logical next step.

The essence of all food preservation is the arresting of decay and the blocking of food-borne pathogens. Through the advance of science, making your own jams, jellies, and pickles has never been easier. In my classes, I always describe … Read More

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