Refrigerator "Party" Pickles

     Forgo the heat and mess of canning, as these are “ice-box” pickles. The idea comes from Carolyn Woefhoff whom I interviewed in May 2010 for my monthly food column in the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle. She “puts them up” in six pint jars that she stores in the fridge but I made her “easy” recipe even easier by just putting the pickles in a pottery bowl (a crock or even a stainless or plastic bowl would work too). I let them set overnight and they were ready to take to a party.
     These pickles are especially crisp and crunchy since do not undergo the heat of processing.

Party Pickles    Makes about 12 cups
Carolyn Woelhoff’s pickle recipe with a few adjustments.
7 cups thinly sliced (1/8”) cucumber  - use peel and all  
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 cup green pepper, optional
2 tablespoons table salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups white vinegar
3 tablespoons celery seed, or more if desired
4 to 5 bunches of dill (or about 2 to 3 tablespoons of dried dill weed)

1.  Combine pickle ingredients and stir.  Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour; transfer to a colander and drain for 5 to 10 minutes; do NOT rinse.
2.  Bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil over medium heat – sugar should dissolve completely.
3.  For party pickles, put the drained pickle mixture in a bowl, pour syrup over and add the celery see and dill. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate at least overnight for maximum flavor. Taste and adjust flavorings if desired.
I drained some of the excess "juice" off the pickles and put them in a serving/storage container.
This is how Carolyn prepared the pickles jars (she uses more celery seed and dill than I did in the party pickle version):
Make 6 pints.
  1. Sprinkle at least 1 tablespoon of celery seed in the bottom of each of 6 clean and sterilized pint canning jars or other 2-cup capacity container. 
  2. Add 3 bunches of dill to the bottom of each jar. 
  3. Divide drained cucumber mixture among jars and add 2 more sprigs of dill; pour sugar and vinegar solution over cucumbers, leaving ½” headspace or more. 
  4. Cool. 
  5. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate for several days before eating for maximum flavor. 

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