What are the snacks you most enjoy giving your kids? We all love it when they’ll eat a piece of fruit or some raw veggies, but when they’re wanting something that doesn’t “seem” healthy to them, do you have an arsenal of snack ideas that they love and you are comfortable will still offer at least a modicum of nutrition? One on the list at our house is pickles. My kids (and my husband) never met a pickle they didn’t like. 🙂 I’m a dill girl, all the way, but the rest of the family are hardcore pickle aficionados, looking forward to any and all varieties — bread and butter pickles, sweet pickles, dill pickles, pickled peppers, pickle relish and on, and on …… When I was unable to supply any other variety, from our pantry, I have one child who actually filled a cereal bowl with hamburger dill chips to go down and watch a movie! lol I told you… they love pickles. With such a huge fan following, you would think that pickles would be something I have made often, but I have to confess, I haven’t. My first attempts at canning pickles, yielded mushy, definitely un-crisp disappointment and I haven’t braved it again, in awhile.
However, I’m finally getting such a good yield from the garden and I had an opportunity to test out Heinz’s new Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, so I’m cinching up my apron and diving in one more time. The difference this time is that I’m trying a refrigerator pickle, instead of canning them. I’m hopeful, and to tell the truth, more than just a little excited about making a good pickle, at home, with my own fresh ingredients. My inspiration came from a blog called At Home My Way. I loved the idea of a cooled brine being poured over the pickles and it makes sense to me that this will help them maintain their crispness, as opposed to covering them in boiling brine and then dropping the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Heinz is a brand that I have known since childhood, and when it comes to vinegar, it’s the brand you’ll find in my pantry. Whether it’s for making my own cleaning supplies or cooking, Heinz Vinegar has always proven to be a quality product. I love their White Cleaning Strength Vinegar and always have Apple Cider vinegar on hand for marinades, dressings and cooking. I was really excited when I heard that they now make Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, which is great for cooking, but may also have health benefits. Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is made from pulverized apples, just like plain Apple Cider Vinegar, but it has not been strained and filtered or pasteurized. It still contains the “mother” which grows during the fermentation process and makes it the most natural and wholesome form of vinegar. Prior to this, we had to order Raw Unfiltered Vinegar online, or drive into the city, to purchase it at a health food store. It’s great news to know that most Walmart stores will now carry this healthy product and I can buy it right in town, at an affordable price.
For my foray into making refrigerator dill pickles, I used Heinz Raw Unfiltered Vinegar, to flavor and preserve my cucumbers. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we do! It makes a full gallon of pickles and I packed them into a gallon jar, but you could just as easily divide them into 4 quart jars. I would recommend using the wide-mouthed jars to make them easier to get in and out of the jars.
- 1 gallon pickling cucumbers (That was about 2 dozen cucumbers, for me.)
- 1 large onion, diced or sliced, as you prefer
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons mustard seed
- 12-14 heads fresh dill (I love dill and lean more toward the "more is better" side.)
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar or Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- ⅓ cup canning salt (Regular salt will not work for this.)
- Wash and slice the cucumbers in half, lengthwise. I think it would work fine to leave them whole, if you prefer or to slice them into chips. Slicing them was just my personal preference.
- Place the dill in the bottom of the jar.
- Alternate adding cucumbers and onion to the jar until it is full.
- Add the vinegar and water to a medium saucepan.
- Add the sugar and salt to the pan.
- Mix the mustard seed and garlic into the vinegar mixture and bring it all to a boil.
- Heat the brine until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let brine cool. It's important for the crispness of your pickles, for the brine to be completely cool.
- Pour cooled brine over the cucumbers and put the lid on the jar, tightly.
- Let the jar set on the counter for three days, turning the jar upside down, back and forth or giving it a gentle shake, occasionally. After three days put the jar in the fridge overnight and the next day, you can begin enjoying your pickles. Yum!
- Store pickles in the refrigerator.
You can learn even more about Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar on the Heinz website, and you can get some fantastic recipes and ideas for using vinegar in your own kitchen by checking out their Recipe Page and Pinterest boards.
Another of our favorite recipes using Apple Cider Vinegar is Chicken Teriyaki. What are some of your favorite recipes using vinegar? What other uses do you love it for?