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Sweet garlic refrigerator pickles

A sweet pickle that will win over even those who say they don't like pickles.

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Some years later, one friend complemented another on the great pickles she’d made. I immediately jumped on her. “How do you make pickles? I’ve always wanted to do that but failed miserably!!” My generous friend explained that she just used her grandmother’s old method that’s in tons of old-fashioned community cookbooks. It uses already made commercial pickles and they are stored in the fridge. I had to try, and with a little research, her vague guidelines and a lot of faith, I came up with my own super-simple version.

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The Runaway Spoon

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My Dad loves them; they are a hit with all my friends. Hey, I even like them. So as I enjoy a new summer in my house, having completed a patio renovation complete with super-grill and outdoor dining room, I am ready to grill up some burgers, served with a bowl of homemade pickles on the side.

Sweet Garlic Refrigerator Pickles
This recipe starts with a gallon jar of pickles, which divides up into many smaller jars (4 quarts, or a combination of smaller sizes.) I start the summer with a gallon jar, because the cleaned and dishwashered pickle jar is absolutely the best vessel for mixing iced tea. You can also use a quart jar of pickles, which will make three pint jars, and adjust the sugar accordingly.

1 (1 gallon) jar of whole kosher dill pickles (not pre-sliced)
1 (4 lb.) bag of granulated sugar
2 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
Several shakes of good hot sauce

Pour the pickles in a large colander and drain of all the liquid. Rinse out the jar, but do not clean with soap and water. Slice the pickles into 1/4 inch pieces. I find doing this by hand the best method, though it takes some time. The pickles are a bit too soft for a mandoline or food processor.

Layer the sliced pickles with the garlic cloves and sugar and a few good shakes of hot sauce, covering each layer of pickles with sugar. Top up the jar with sugar as close to the top as you can. Screw on the lid and set aside in a cool place away from direct light. The sugar will dissolve and make a syrup in the jar. Over the next few days, carefully shake the jar to dissolve any sugar that accumulates at the bottom, and add more sugar. Continue to do this for four or five days, until the syrup covers the pickles and you can’t add anymore. You may not use the whole 4 lb. bag of sugar.

When the pickles are covered in syrup, pour the whole contents of the jar into a large bowl. Discard the garlic cloves. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pickle slices to very clean Mason jars, pressing down lightly and shaking to distribute the slices evenly. Fill the jars with pickle slices just to the rim under the screw-on threads. When all your jars are full, evenly divide the syrup over each jar of pickles. It may not completely cover the pickles, but that’s OK. Place the lids on the jars, screw on the bands and refrigerate. Store in the fridge up to six months unopened, two weeks after they have been opened.

Related post: Pickled asparagus

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