This was my second attempt at homemade pickles. My favorite pickles are extra-garlicky and super-crunchy. So basically, I want to can pickles that taste like refrigerator pickles. It's a lofty standard, but I decided to try out this recipe for ice-brined spicy garlic dill pickles. Supposedly, pre-brining the cucumbers overnight on ice keeps the pickles from getting too soft during canning. I don't really follow the science of this, but I gave it a try.
I brined the cucumbers whole but sliced them before putting them in the jars because I mostly use pickles on sandwiches and burgers. I forgot that I was making a half-batch of these and included the full amount of pickle spices. I didn't really notice a difference, but the pickling liquid is rather yellow. After a couple days to let the vinegar penetrate the cucumbers, I cracked open a jar. The pickles were good, but not particularly crisp. This may be a case where store-bought will always trump my homemade. I'd much rather spend my time making peach butter.
So what do you do with 8 jars of sliced pickles? Make oven-fried pickles of course! I've had my eye on this recipe from Skinnytaste for a while and I wish I had made them sooner! I added an extra step by flouring the slices first before dredging in egg and the cornmeal/Panko mix resulting in a nice, thick crust that stayed on the pickle chips. The results were delicious, especially when dipped in ranch dressing spiked with horseradish. I took these to a ladies' night last weekend and got a bit of good-natured teasing for having biked to the farmer's market to buy these cucumbers, canning the pickles myself, and then making the breaded pickles and horseradish-yogurt ranch dressing from scratch. That is, when their mouths weren't full.