Todd’s Pickles | Pickled Garlic Scapes

Pickles and I go way back. I can remember frequenting the fridge late at night as a teenager and scarfing down half a dozen pickles (first Vlasics, then Claussens once I wised up). I have always loved the distinct snap and crunch of a good pickle. The briny taste of a kosher dill pickle is unlike any other taste. As evidence of my love for pickled cucumber spears, consider this: my favorite bar at Penn State was Bill Pickles. No, I am not making that up – Google it!
Around this time last year, I found out that Hayley’s dad had a very special culinary talent. You guessed it: he is the master of pickling. His garden, complete with double security fence and armed guards (the groundhogs mean business around here), is almost exclusively dedicated to growing cucumbers – for the sole purpose of pickling them. The man has it down to a science. But that science was heavily guarded. I needed that recipe, and I needed to stun him in some way so that his guard would be down and I could get his recipe. Enter my ingenious (yet poorly executed) plan.
I called up Hayley’s dad, Todd, the other day. It was near dinner time, and a helluva hot day here in Pittsburgh. He was still at work, but took my call since I don’t call him too often. I guess he found it unusual, and it put him on alert. The hook was baited.
I said ‘ Hey Todd, you got a minute to talk?’ Sure, he replied. ‘Hey, I’ve got something I would really like to talk you about. It’s about Hayley (a lie, kind of). I have something I’ve been meaning to ask you……
WHAT?‘ Todd replied, clearly very concerned.
Can I get that pickle recipe of yours?’
Now, I had figured this would be the perfect ‘gotcha’. I played it up like I was going to ask him if I could marry Hayley. Unfortunately, I’m the worst actor on the planet, and my nervous tone came off as if I was going to break up with her. Needless to say, it went over like a turd in a punchbowl! I believe his exact words were: “I’m going to come find you, wherever you are, and beat your ass!… or at least try to” I explained that the joke was supposed to be that I was calling to seek his blessing for an engagement, to which he said ‘Of COURSE you can marry her, you’re going to, right?
After the painfully botched joke, I thought my chances of getting the recipe were nil, but Todd was actually more than happy to give it to me. It is clear he loves his craft, because even at work he could recite the steps and ingredients by heart.We now present you with Todd’s pickle recipe!
Todd’s Pickles
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 5 medium cucumbers
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 5 generous sprigs of dill (flowering if possible)
  • 10 peppercorns per mason jar
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 5 pint sized canning jars
  1. Rinse cucumbers under cold water. Lightly scrub with a clean sponge if dirty or still spiny.
  2. Soak cucumbers in ice water overnight (or for 8 hours). This is what gives the pickles their crunch!
  3. Sterilize mason jars (and lids) by washing with warm soapy water. Rinse, then place in a 175 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Bring the water, white vinegar and pickling salt to a boil. Allow to boil for 4 minutes, stirring to ensure pickling salt has evenly dissolved.
  5. In each mason jar, place 1 clove of garlic (peeled and smashed), 10 peppercorns, and a big sprig of flowering dill.
  6. Cut the cucumber into wedges and pack jars – leaving a small amount of room to shake the ingredients.
  7. Pour hot brine into jars, filling to the top. Seal the jar tightly, and shake vigorously.
  8. After jars have settled for 5 minutes, tighten further if possible.
  9. Refrigerate, and enjoy as soon as 48 hours later. For best results, wait 2 weeks.
For anyone that doesn’t care for pickles, or would like to try an alternate brining recipe – here is another way of pickling, only this time using garlic scapes.
Pickled Garlic Scapes


  • 1/2 lb garlic scapes
  • 3 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 3 sprigs oregano
  • 2.5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes in each jar
  • 3 pint-sized mason canning jars
  1. Sterilize mason jars (and lids) by washing with warm soapy water. Rinse, then place in a 175 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  2. Add water, apple cider vinegar, and salt to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
  3. Pack sterilized jars with garlic scapes, thyme, oregano, and basil.
  4. Pour hot brine to the top of the jar, and sprinkle in red pepper flakes.
  5. Tightly seal lid, and boil jars in a pot of water for 45 minutes.
  6. Allow jars to cool, then store refrigerated for at least 2 weeks before enjoying.

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    1. July 22, 2011

      YUM…I am tucking this one in my "to make" file for the future!

    2. July 22, 2011

      I'll definitely give it a go, though from a health standpoint I prefer lacto-fermentation. It's hard to get that kosher dill taste though.

    3. July 22, 2011

      Beautiful pickling pictures. 🙂

    4. July 22, 2011

      Seriously, I don't know what you do for a living, but photography must be considered as a gig of some sorts…


    5. July 22, 2011

      Cute story about calling her dad. When are you going to get married? No pressure lol.

      I agree the photos are beautiful. They are on every post. I wish I was able to take such nice pictures.

    6. July 24, 2011

      The botched recipe request gag sounds absolutely hilarious (with the benefit of hindsight). The pickles look gorgeous too (and I agree with Johntn about your photography – quality work that).

    7. July 25, 2011

      We are…..sorry had to do it. Didn't know there were fellow paleo bloggers who also went to school at Penn State.

    8. July 25, 2011

      Pickled scapes, bloody brilliant (and so photogenic, nicely done)!

    9. August 1, 2011

      This looks exactly like my Aunt Dorothy's pickle recipe! The one I have been coveting for 30 years. Can't wait to try. Kinda scared… pickling can be daunting.

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