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It’s cucumber season! As a family of serious pickle-lovers, mid-July is pickle mania in our household, and we usually most of our July weekends picking, pickling, and canning. Our pickles aren’t just for the adults though – we’ve discovered they make PERFECT toddler teethers! These crisp, chilly dills are great for gumming, healthier than store-bought, and only take about 10 minutes to throw together!
Name brand pickles are often heavily salted and contain preservatives or sugars you don’t want to expose new teeth and growing bodies to, so I thought I’d share our favorite classic dill recipe, made into “teething pickles” with a couple of small modifications specifically for toddlers. Added bonuses? DIY’ing your pickles is less expensive, way more eco-friendly, and supports your local growers.
DIY Quick Pickles Ingredients:
Yields roughly 2 pint jars
- 1 Lb. (about 4 Pickling Cucmbers or 6 Mini Cucumbers)
- 2-4 Partly-Crushed Garlic Cloves
- 6 Sprigs of Fresh Dill (Use the whole sprig!)
- 2 tsp of Pickling Spice (Optional)
- 2 tsp Mustard Seed
- 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisper per jar
FOR THE BRINE:
- 1 c. Water
- 7/8 c. Distilled White Vinegar (you could also use champagne or white wine vinegar)
- 1/4 Tbsp Kosher Salt
You can reuse pint jars you have around, or pick some up (we’re big fans of our locally-owned Ace Hardware!).
Pickling cucumbers are just younger cucumbers that are flooding most farmers’ markets right now. And for anyone who wants to do a little experimenting, carrots and green beans also make excellent pickling yummies.
DIY Quick Teething Pickles Instructions:
- Prep your jars and cucumbers
Sterilize your jars, and thoroughly scrub your cucumbers. You can use the pickle whole (I still like to nip off the ends) or slice them into quarters. I’ve found bigger pickles make better teethers, but you may want to slice some up for yourself!
- Toss cucumbers and salt together and soak in an ice bath for 15 minutes
If you want your pickles to have extra flavor and crispness, throw them into an ice bath with a toss of salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse. I recommend this, but it’s not necessary!
- Add the spices and seasonings to your jars
Prep your jars by filling each with 1-2 garlic cloves, 2-3 sprigs of fresh dill, 1 tsp mustard seed, 1 tsp pickling spice, and crisper.
- Prepare your pickle brine
Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil.
- Add cucumbers to jars and fill with brine
Stuff your jars with cucumbers, then slowly add brine until you’ve covered the cucumbers. Because we won’t be boiling and sealing our jars to store for months, you don’t have to follow all the rules traditional canning requires (like filling brine within a 1/4 inch of the top).
- Lid, refrigerate and let sit for 2-3 days before eating
Lid, refrigerate and start enjoying after 2-3 days! You should store these pickles in your fridge and can safely eat them for up to 1 month.
To make the spicier “adult ” version of these, follow the same process, but add 1 bay leaf, an extra 1 or 2 garlic cloves, and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (onions and red peppers are great to throw into the mix as well) per jar. Also, add an extra 3/4 Tbsp of salt to the brine.
As with all of the simple recipes we share, this one provides lots of lovely opportunities to involve your little ones. And you don’t have to stick to just quick pickles either – I love these veggie variations and tips for involving kids in the pickling process from How We Montessori.
For more ideas to help develop your kids’ practical kitchen skills, visit our big collection of hands-on kitchen learning activities!