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  1. Claussen Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

    August 7, 2013 by Jocelyn Baker

    When it comes to pickles, I’m a bit of a snob. Sweet pickles? Yuck. Less that crunchy pickles? No way. In my life, I’ve only ever liked ONE of the numerous homemade pickles that I’ve tried. I’ve never tried making them myself, because I was convinced that even I couldn’t make a pickle that I would like. Until I discovered this awesome refrigerator pickle recipe, that is. And guess what? They’re delicious!

    Refrigerator Pickles

    At the grocery store, Claussen pickles are my favorite; they’re always crunchy and have a great flavor. So when I found a recipe for Claussen-like refrigerator pickles, I had to give it a try!

    I bought 1 pound of pickling cukes at my local farmer’s market for $2, and tested the recipe with 1 pint sized jar. The recipe below will work for about 2 pounds of pickling cukes.

    Ingredients for Refrigerator Pickles


    1 1/2 c. water
    1 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
    2 Tbsp. pickling salt
    1 tsp. minced garlic
    1/2 tsp. onion powder
    6 large sprigs of fresh baby dill
    1/2 tsp. mustard seed
    1 tsp. black peppercorns

    First combine the water, vinegar, salt, and spices (not the dill) in a saucepan and set it to high. As that heats up, wash and cut up the cucumbers. I just cut the ends off and sliced them in half. Then fill the jars with the cukes and dill.

    Once your brine has heated through, and the salt has all dissolved, take it off the heat and let it cool. It works best if you strain out the mustard seeds and peppercorns then divide them equally among the jars. Once the brine has cooled a bit, fill your jars to completely cover the cucumbers, leaving at least 1/4 inch of space at the top.

    Put the lids lightly on your jars or cover with cheesecloth, and then let them sit out of sunlight on the counter for 2-4 days. I could only wait 2 days before I had to try them, and they were good, but not quite pickle-y enough. I ended up leaving them out for just over 3 days before putting them in the fridge. You’ll want to let them chill for at least a few hours to get the best pickle experience!

    Making Pickles

    Do you have any great homemade pickle recipes? Please share them in the comments!

  2. DIY Friday: Make Vanilla Extract

    March 1, 2013 by Jocelyn

    If you want to learn how to make vanilla extract at home, but are intimidated by the process, it’s your lucky day! Let me be the first to tell you that not only is it very easy to make, but it’s much cheaper than store bought pure vanilla extract, and only requires a few ingredients. Overall, it ranks pretty highly on the awesomeness scale.
    Completed Homemade Vanilla Extract
    Making vanilla extract yourself is not only incredibly simple, but it also yields absolutely delicious results. Honestly, I can’t believe that I ever even considered purchasing disgusting imitation vanilla extract. I’m ashamed even thinking about it. It’s just that I thought that the “pure vanilla extract” was so expensive for such a tiny bottle. Well let me tell you, I’m never going to run out. Ever.

    Where to Get Vanilla Beans

    Most people don’t realize that vanilla beans are really easy to find (cheaply) online. They are likely very expensive at your local grocery store, so I recommend getting them from Amazon. I purchased mine from them, after a recommendation by one of my girlfriends. So without further ado, below are the links to the exact beans that I got, and they come in many different quantities. (They’ve got great reviews, and even better, they all qualify for free shipping!)

    You will need at least 3-4 beans per cup of vanilla extract that you intend to make.
    Premium Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Beans – 16 beans – $11.49
    Premium Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Beans – 1/4 lb. – Approx. 27 beans – $15.95
    Premium Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Beans – 1 lb. – Approx. 108 beans – $44.95

    I should warn you that the smell of vanilla beans is to die for; it really is intoxicating. If you’re still not sure you want to make vanilla extract yourself, I say you should do it just to smell the delicious aroma of freshly cut vanilla beans. Aah. I’m glad that I have a few left over so that I can just open the bag and smell them occasionally.

    The Recipe: Make Vanilla Extract

    This will make 4 cups of extract.
    12-16 Vanilla beans
    4 cups of vodka- the higher the quality, the better
    A little patience

    Measuring cup
    Clean and dry glass jars
    Supplies to make vanilla extract

    Vanilla beans

    When you’re ready, leave the ends of the beans in tact, and cut a slit through the center of each one. Then turn the bean one quarter rotation, and slice through it again. This will help the flavors to infuse really well. Once you’ve sliced all of your vanilla beans, put them into your clean glass jars and add 1 cup of vodka for every 3-4 beans. Voila! You now have vanilla extract. Once you’ve completed this process, the only thing left to do is be patient.

    Your vanilla must sit for 2 months before it’s ready. Gently shake them once every week or two. It will get darker as time goes on. Once it’s ready to be used, you can simply add more vodka to replenish your supply!

    If you’d like, you can even print out cute labels for your jars, like this one!

    These are especially great for when you give some of your vanilla extract as a gift, or share it with friends. I put them on my jars too, just because I think they’re so darn cute! Now, time to get baking!

    Thanks for reading!