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Easy Winter Pickles

By Cheryl Forberg
Image of Pickling Cucumbers
Now that more of us are growing (or buying!) more vegetables, pickling is making a comeback. Hardly a new technique, pickling goes back, way back, to the 1600’s, when “achar” or pickling cucumbers were made in India. Intended as a process to preserve food, pickling was also a reliable method to ensure food was safe for long journeys. The tangy flavor created in the process is something many of us have come to enjoy. And the term we use today, “pickle” is actually of Dutch origin, from the word “peckel” which translates from the word “brine”.

There are two primary methods of pickling, one using salt and another using an acid/vinegar solution. Though we usually think of cucumbers and herbs such as dill when we think of pickles, the technique is also used to preserve other vegetables such as beets, mushrooms and peppers.

It’s a pretty basic process that requires only water, salt or vinegar, with unlimited options for adding herbs, spices or other flavoring agents. Though most of us pickle in the summer, when the harvest and flavor of cucumbers are at their peak, I missed the opportunity last summer as most of my cucumbers grew to be gargantuan before I had the opportunity to pick them.

I don’t go through a lot of pickles each year, maybe a jar at most, but since I’ve just run out, I decided to make Easy Winter Pickles today. The cucumbers may be from the store instead of my garden, but I think the results are equally as tasty. With any pickle recipe, be sure to use crisp, fresh veggies or the resulting pickled food will be mushy.

Preparing the pickles literally takes minutes. The only patience you need is to wait for a week or so for the “pickle process” to occur which allows the flavors to build.

Easy Winter Pickles
Makes 1 quart or about 16 large spears
Quick and easy recipe for crunchy tasty dill pickles – ready in one week!
Image of Ingredients for Easy Winter Pickles
3 cups Water
1 cup White Vinegar
1 tablespoon Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup
1 tablespoon Sea or Kosher Salt
4 medium Cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
Image of Cutting Pickling Cucumbers
2 cloves Garlic, whole ( or 2 teaspoons Chopped Garlic)
2 large sprigs fresh Dill (or 1 tablespoon Dried Dill)
1 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes (optional)


In a 3 quart saucepan, heat water, vinegar, agave and salt over high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool completely.
Image of placing cucumber spears in a clean quart size jar
Meanwhile, place cucumber spears in a clean quart size jar. Add garlic and dill (and chili flakes if using). Pour cooled vinegar mixture and seal jar tightly. (Depending on size of cucumbers, there may be excess vinegar water which you can discard) Refrigerate for at least 1 week.
Image of Easy Winter Pickles
Nutrition Analysis for one pickle spear
Calories 15
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0
Sat Fat 0
Trans Fat 0
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 300mg
Total Carbohydrate 3
Fiber 1
Sugar 2
Protein 1
Vitamin A 4
Vitamin C 8
Calcium 2
Iron 2
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