Sun Pickles

Hello Friends,

The vegetable garden is in full production mode. Look at what I harvested this morning!

Today I would like to share with you a simple recipe for delicious, crispy, dill pickles made with solar power. This is a great fun project to do with the children.

The containers are filled with an abundance of pickling cukes and fragrant dill from my herb garden. The pungent aroma of the dill fills the air in the afternoon sun.

Soapsmith's Sun Pickles

Makes  about 1/2 gallon. You can use pints, quarts, larger jars etc.
Wash jars well with hot soapy water, rinse with hot water and allow to air dry until ready to use.

 For crispy pickles you need to start with firm, crisp cucumbers.  Best to make them the day you harvest the cukes.  If you are purchasing them ask if when they were picked.  Pickling or kirby cukes are best.  If you use the traditional cucumbers from the grocery store it is more likely you will not be able to get a good crisp/crunch. If you can bend the cuke it will not be crispy when finished.  They will be tasty, just not crispy.  Also, if you decide to process them for longer storage over winter the pickles will be softer because they are cooked during the processing.  You can use Pickle Crisp or Alum in processed pickles to help with crispiness but that won't make a difference in sun/refrigerator pickles.

It is important to use pickling salt. You can use other salts and it will still be good but the brine will not be clear - cloudy but still safe and flavorful.

Dissolve together:

1/4 cup pickling salt

2 1/2 cups white vinegar (or any vinegar combination of your choice)

2 1/2 cups very hot to boiling water

Enough pickling cukes to fill the jars - sliced, whole or spears, your choice.

Add to each jar:

1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

heads of fresh dill weed or dried dill seeds (one to four for each jar depending on the size of the jars)

cloves of garlic   (one to four for each jar depending on the size of the jars)

You can add any other spices you like, pickling spice, dry mustard, black pepper, celery seed, chives etc.

Wash cucumbers, rinse dill heads, peel garlic cloves,
slightly smash garlic to release flavor.

Add heads of fresh dill & fresh garlic to taste.

Pour the warm brine to cover and put on lid or covering.

Set the jar in the sun for a day or up to 3 days - I usually just do one day if it is in the hot summer sun. Bring in, keep refrigerated.  It takes at least a week in the fridge for the best flavor, the longer they sit the more the flavors blend and infuse the cukes but you can eat them at any time in the process.

Optional spices as desired:2 tsp. cayenne pepper, pickling spice, black peppercorns, mustard seed, celery salt etc.This works great for cauliflower as well, you can add fresh hot peppers for some extra kick.

Gather your ingredients and utensils.

Wash the jars and lids with hot soapy water, rinse with hot water and allow to drain while you prepare the recipe. It is not necessary to use canning jars as this recipe is for fresh pickles, not processed for long term storage.

Slice the clean cucumbers lengthwise in quarters or sliced and pack into jar.

Place dill heads, garlic and any spices that you like into the jars. My favorite is cayenne pepper, it does provide some heat so use it to your family's tastes.

Use very hot tap to boiling water, stir in the salt to dissolve and add the vinegars. Pour the warm brine over the cukes to fill the jar. Note, if you need more, you can just supplement the brine with more water and vinegar to cover the cucumbers. This is a forgiving recipe, feel free to improvise.

Put the lid on the jar and set it in the summer sun for a day up to three days. After the waiting period, place the pickles in the refrigerator until full chilled. At least a full day but a week is better. Don't be tempted to try them yet, they need that cold treatment to crisp up and fully develop the flavors.

These pickles will keep well refrigerated for several weeks, but they never last that long in our house!

Please note: The pickles are not preserved to be stored on the shelf. They must be kept refrigerated. If you want to make pickles to last through the seasons, you will have to follow traditional safe canning methods utilizing heat processing with proper canning jars.

I hope you will give these a try. Delicious, spicy, crisp and refreshing, yummy.

Thanks for visiting,


Reader's Comments

By Guest on 06/17/2014 @ 06:32pmAdd a couple teaspoons of hot red pepper seeds. The best!

By Guest on 08/25/2013 @ 06:15pmTo try to see if my solar pickles would be more crisp my recipe called for 3 grape leafs I also tried adding 1 tsp. per gallon of Ball Pickle Crisp Granules I had my cucumbers in cold water for a couple hours before I added all the other ingredients.

By Soapsmith on 08/08/2013 @ 09:52pmSince these aren't heat processed, I wouldn't want to take the chance that they could spoil without refrigeration. I do know that the strong vinegar and salt might help prevent some spoilage but I am not an expert. The home canning advice is to always heat process for long term storage insure safety. I would not want to advise you what to do because I really don't know for sure and I wouldn't want to be the cause of any bad reaction. Sorry I can't be of help, I just follow the directions and refrigerate them.

By Guest on 08/08/2013 @ 09:11pmWhat if you do not have enough refrigerator room? My Mother used to put them in a cool dark place for about 3 months. No processing. Some of my jars have sealed and some have not.

By Soapsmith on 07/30/2013 @ 09:17pmI wouldn't add any more days. The sun helps the process but it isn't vital. The pickles will be fine with cloudy days.

By Guest on 07/30/2013 @ 09:05pmWhat it you get 1 cloudy day? do you just add another sunny day to it

By Soapsmith on 07/29/2013 @ 11:27amI just leave them sit for the three days, I don't refrigerate them at night. After the three days, then I keep refrigerate them.

By Guest on 07/29/2013 @ 04:09amThis looks like an excellent recipe. Thanks! Quick question: Do you bring them in or refrigerate these at night or just leave the jar out for 3 solid days?

By Soapsmith on 07/22/2013 @ 04:29pmI don't use alum. I know some old time recipes call for alum because they require a longer processing time. The alum is supposed to help with crispness when the pickles are hot processed. Since these pickles are not heat processed, I don't thing alum would make a difference. You could try it to see, maybe add it to one jar and compare. If you do try it, post a comment and let me know if there was improvement.

By Guest on 07/22/2013 @ 04:07pmdo you ever use alum

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