Freezer pickles Credit: Sandy Oliver

Not everyone has the energy and time to heat a canner full of water, sterilize pint jars, dig out rings and lids, slice cucumbers and onions, make a brine, pack the jars, then do the whole boiling water bath thing in order to make a few pints of tasty bread and butter pickles.

Personally, I love the process and feel a surge of joy and pride when I gaze on a few shelves colorful with green pickles, deep red tomato sauce and golden canned peaches in sparkling jars. But I don’t have kids to drive to soccer practice or preschool, or a job that takes me away from home all day long. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get a charge out of sensible short cuts like these freezer pickles.

My island neighbor Melissa Olson has been making freezer pickles over the past few weeks. She and her husband, Craig, like them very much and I thought some of you readers might be glad to know about them as well.

Freezer pickles are a great way to enjoy pickle flavor without the effort required for canning. Plus, consider the cost-cutting benefit in putting up cucumbers when they are abundant for eating long past growing season.

This recipe that Melissa shared with me cautions that once you have opened and thawed your container, it is wise to consume it within two weeks. If you have glass canning jars, you can freeze your pickles in those or you can use plastic storage containers.

Because the recipe’s quantities are readily divisible, or multipliable, it occurred to me that this recipe will come in handy for late cukes which I can use in smaller batches as the cucumber plants slow down and produce less fruit. I like the sweet and sour flavor, not sharp at all, and crisp texture. I thawed a pint and somehow four of us ate nearly the whole thing in one go.

Credit: Sandy Oliver

Freezer Pickles

Yields 3 pints

2 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced

4 cups thinly sliced onions (about 4 medium onions)

⅛ cup salt

6 ounces water

2 cups sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1. Sterilize your plastic containers and lids or canning jars and lids with boiling water and dry them.

2. Toss the cucumbers, onions, salt and water together in a large bowl.

3. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

4. Stir the sugar and vinegar together until sugar is dissolved then stir into the cucumbers and onions.

5. Without draining, fill containers or jars, leaving one inch headroom to allow for expansion.

6. Thaw pickles to serve and use within two weeks.

7. Pickles may remain in freezer up to six months.

Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...