Pickle fans everywhere, it’s time to rejoice! This spicy freezer pickle recipe created by recipe developer Miriam Hahn of YouCare-SelfCare is the easiest pickle recipe you could imagine whipping up right in your own kitchen. Truly, it takes just a little bit of time to to prep and 24 hours to "rest" before delivering the crispy, sweet, sour, and spicy pickles of your dreams. And if for any reason you’re not a sweet and sour pickle fan, Hahn says all you have to do is leave out the sugar, and you’ll enjoy a pickle with a nice, sharp, vinegar-y flavor.
Plus, because this recipe makes three, good-sized jars of pickles you can keep stored in your freezer, a single day’s wait leaves you with enough pickles to last you at least a couple weeks. (Although, that depends on how much you love pickles, of course.) And whenever you need an easy option to add to a spread of appetizers, you can’t go wrong with serving up a jar of spicy pickles to please the crowd.
Gather your ingredients to prepare these simple spicy pickles
When it comes to making your spicy pickles, the main ingredient should be obvious: You’re going to need cucumbers — but not just any cucumbers. To get an especially crispy pickle, it’s important to use cucumbers with less water content. Hahn likes using Persian cucumbers (like the recipe calls for), but you could choose English cucumbers as well.
In addition to cucumbers, you will need a jalapeño, onions, garlic, salt, celery seed, and mustard seed (to give the pickles a nice, spicy flavor). Then, you’ll use sugar and vinegar to give them that sweet and sour taste you crave.
You will also need to round up three, 32-ounce wide-mouth Mason jars to prep and store your pickles in. Then, it’s time to prepare the pickles!
Whisk together the brine
To get started, you need to make your brine. Combine the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk them together until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remember, if you don’t want a sweet flavored pickle, simply leave the sugar out of the brine.
When the salt and sugar have dissolved, add the celery seed and mustard seed, and set the brine aside. While Hahn uses white vinegar for this recipe (You need 5 cups of vinegar, so using white vinegar is the most economical.), you can test other vinegars if you’re so inclined. Hahn suggests apple cider vinegar as a good substitution.
Prep your veggies
Now, simply prep your vegetables. Slice up your onion and mince the garlic (Or if you choose, use pre-minced garlic from a jar.). While wearing gloves, slice your jalapeño into rounds, removing the seeds. (Be sure to avoid touching your eyes and face, and wash your hands very well after handling the peppers.) While the recipe is for pickles, keep in mind that your onion and jalapeños will be pickling in the brine as well, so you want them a good shape and size to use on burgers or chili dogs, if you so choose.
Then, cut off the ends of your cucumbers, and slice each cucumber into ¼-inch rounds to get a nice, thick, crispy pickle. That being said, if you prefer slightly less crunch, you can slice your cucumbers a little thinner.
Fill your mason jars with the cucumber, garlic, jalapeño, and onion
When the veggies are ready, it’s time to distribute them into your jars. Evenly distribute the onion, garlic, and jalapenos in the bottom of each jar. "I like to add the onions and jalapeños to the bottom of the jars so the flavors are released into the mixture, but when you open the jar, you can scoop out pickles [without getting onions or jalapeños mixed in]," Hahn says. Then, fill each jar with the cucumber slices, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the jar.
Add the brine to the mason jars
The last part of your prep work is to evenly distribute the brine between the three mason jars. It’s important to make sure you cover the cucumber slices completely so they’re sitting under the brine, but you also need to leave space at the top of each jar. This is because as the jars freeze, the content expands, and you don’t want to end up with cracked, broken, or leaking pickle jars.
Store the jars until you’re ready to serve
All that’s left is for the brine to do its job. Place your jars of cucumbers into the fridge to soak for 24 hours. After 24 hours have passed, your pickles are ready to freeze or enjoy! Hahn likes to keep one jar in the fridge to eat and put the other two jars in the freezer to preserve. You can keep them in the freezer for up to six months, but let’s be honest, you’ll probably eat them before then. And as your jar of pickles in the fridge starts to run low, simply transfer one of your other jars from the freezer to the fridge where they’ll thaw overnight and be ready to enjoy on sandwiches or as-is for a delicious snack.