No time for traditional canning methods? Try these lime-mint easy freezer pickles with flavors inspired by a mojito cocktail. They’re tasty right out of the jar or served on a pulled pork or chicken sandwich.
I’m getting a reputation as the “pickle lady” around our neighborhood, since I always give away jars when I make watermelon rind pickles, 14-day sweet pickles or overnight refrigerator pickles. The latest pickles to come out of my kitchen are these delicious freezer pickles.
My friend, Amy, who shared her cucumber crop with me and invited me over to help make these, christened them mojito freezer pickles.
It’s the perfect name for these crunchy pickled cucumbers and onions flavored with lime juice, lime zest and fresh mint.
Wouldn’t they be great as a garnish for a craft mojito? And I think they’d make a tasty topping for my pulled pork nachos.
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What are freezer pickles?
Did you even know you could make pickles in the freezer?
You can, and freezer pickles come out crunchy and delicious. They also retain a lot of their color, as you can see.
We used a mix of green and yellow (or blonde) pickling cucumbers for our freezer pickles. (These yellow cucumbers were a varietal, not overripe cucumbers that had turned yellow.)
Rather than processing the jars in a water bath canner, you put them into the freezer until you’re ready to serve them.
You can keep freezer pickles in the freezer up to a year before they start to lose their crunch. Once thawed, keep them in the refrigerator and eat within three weeks.
How to Make Freezer Pickles
The process for making freezer pickles is really easy and much less time consuming than traditional canning methods. The hands-on time is minimal, and they’re ready to freeze fairly quickly, after first setting in pickling salt and brining. You’ll find a complete recipe at the end of this post. But I’m going to outline the steps for how to make quick freezer pickles below, as well.
- The first step to make freezer pickles is to wash the cucumbers well and allow them to dry.
- Next, slice the cucumbers and combine them with pickling salt in a large glass, plastic or non-reactive bowl.
- Cover and let stand for three hours.
- After three hours, you will drain the cucumbers and return them to the same bowl.
- The next step is making the brine. Combine the lime zest and juice, sugar, vinegar, sliced onion, chopped mint and garlic with the cucumbers and stir well.
- Cover the mixture and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for eight hours, or overnight.
- The next day, you’ll drain the cucumbers, making sure to reserve the brine. (I place a colander over a bowl to collect the liquid.)
- Next, pack the cucumber slices into sterilized jars. (I always use my dishwasher to sterilize jars.) Make sure to leave an inch of headspace in the jars when packing them.
- Then, pour the reserved brine over the cucumbers in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
- Cap the jars loosely with sterilized rings and lids and place in the freezer.
- Once the pickles have frozen, you can tighten the lids on the jars and return them to the freezer.
The temptation will be to thaw the pickles immediately and eat them. But if you wait a week or two, they’ll be even better!
When you’re ready to serve the pickles, just place them in the refrigerator to thaw. (These pickles cannot be stored in the pantry; they must be frozen or refrigerated.)
This particular freezer pickle recipe makes six to eight half-pint jars, so you’ll have plenty of pickles to share with friends, family and neighbors, if you’re feeling generous.
How long will freezer pickles last?
I always say not long because once you open a jar, they’ll be eaten quickly.
But in terms of food safety, thawed freezer pickles will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
Frozen pickles can keep in the freezer for six months to a year before they start to lose their crispness.
When is the best time to make pickles?
Anytime of the year, if you’re able to find pickling cucumbers.
Pickling cucumbers are abundant in July and August, depending on where you live.
If you don’t have them in your own garden, you should definitely be buying some from the farmer’s market to make pickles. There are so many different types of pickle recipes and ways you can flavor cucumbers.
You can use traditional canning methods to make pickles — it’s really not that hard! As an introduction to pickle making, you might want to try out refrigerator pickles or freezer pickles because you don’t need any special equipment. And they’re usually ready to eat in a day or so.
- 3 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers sliced
- 4 Tablespoons pickling salt
- 1 Tablespoon lime zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
- 3 garlic cloves minced
Wash cucumbers well before slicing and allow to dry. Combine the sliced cucumbers and salt in a large glass, plastic or non-reactive bowl.
Cover and let stand for three hours. Drain and return the cucumbers to the bowl.
Add the lime zest and juice, sugar, vinegar, sliced onion, chopped mint and garlic to the cucumbers. Stir well.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for eight hours.
Drain the cucumbers, reserving the liquid.
Pack the cucumbers into sterilized jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Pour the reserved vinegar and lime liquid over the cucumbers in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Place the lids and rings on the jar loosely. Place jars in the freezer. Once frozen, adjust the jar rings to fingertip tight and return to the freezer
Thaw frozen pickles in the refrigerator before serving. Thawed pickles will last up to three weeks. Frozen pickles can keep in the freezer for six months to a year.
This recipe makes six to eight half pint jars of freezer pickles.
Recipe adapted from The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving.
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