Float Trip Pickles

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Float Trip Pickles are a tradition here in the Ozarks, and commercial versions are sold in stores all over the area. A "float trip" is a group of people in canoes, kayaks, or flat-bottomed small boats taking a day or several days to float down one of our beautiful Ozark streams. Vehicles are first parked at a take-out spot many miles from where the boats put in, and people paddle, wade, swim, or fish their way down the creek. Overnight trips include camping on a sandbar, and somebody has to pack a big iron skillet, corn meal, and oil for cooking fresh fish - plus some coffee and an old-fashioned coffeepot for the wood fire.

The tradition of bringing a big jar of Float Trip Pickles along goes back a long time. Not a sophisticated recipe, fishermen and campers came up with these: Buy a gallon jar of dill pickle chips, drain out and discard the pickle brine and add 3 cups of sugar to the jar. Buy a big jar of pickled jalapeno pepper rings and add as many rings as possible to the pickle jar. Fill the pickle jar with the brine the jalapenos were packed in, put the cap on, and shake the heck out of it. That's it. Float Trip Pickles are hot, sweet cucumber and jalapeno slices with a dill flavor and they're surprisingly GOOD.

Since I've got fresh cukes and jalapenos from the garden now, and since I want to can and keep the pickles for awhile - I did it a little different when I made 10 quarts of Float Trip Pickles yesterday.

I bought two quarts of Dill Pickle Chips and drained off and kept the brine for later. In a food-grade bucket I tossed and mixed the pickle chips from the store with five quarts of fresh cucumbers (peel left on) sliced into chips and three quarts of fresh jalapenos sliced into rings. It happened that about 2/3 of my garden jalapenos were green and 1/3 were red, so that made the mixture prettier. Then I packed the mixed store dill pickles, cucumber chips, and jalapeno rings into quart jars.

I made up 5 quarts of brine by combining: 1 quart of dill brine saved from the store-bought pickles, 2 1/4 quarts white distilled vinegar, 1 quart filtered water, 1 pint apple cider vinegar, 1/2 pint jalapeno brine from a jar of home-pickled jalapeno rings I'd just finished, and 3 cups of sugar. Then I heated the brine in a stainless steel pot to 185 degrees F.

My hot-water canner was brought up to 185 degrees also, then I filled the jars with hot brine, put caps on just finger-tight, and gave them 20 minutes in the canner at 185 degrees. Then I removed them from the canner, tightened the lids, and let them seal as they cooled. Note: per "The Joy of Pickling" and other publications, you can get away with canning pickles at this temperature instead of boiling because of the high acid content (vinegar). Cucumbers get mushy when exposed to temps over 185, but don't do this with any fruits or veggies that aren't in vinegar.

That's it - and these hot, sweet dill pickles turned out real, real good. Remember, if the pickle jar falls in the creek (which often happens), jump in and get it quick before it floats into the rocks. It might break, and that would be a tragedy!

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So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Interesting recipe even though I don't eat pickles.

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

This reminds me of a less complicated version, within your recipe, of what my mom used to do and all the kids loved.

She would by large jars of sliced dill pickles from Aldi's and drain off the brine and fill the jar with sugar. It made the best - crisp sweet pickle slices and she did it for special occasions.

I may have to try adding the jalapeno slices with Mom's version of dill to sweet pickles.

Thanks - for reminding me.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

I came across a commercial version of Float Trip Pickles in a local supermarket today, and it reminded me of this thread from last year. In bringing it up, I noticed that darius posted in it. Wow, what a shame - I miss her posts.

I've been enjoying my home-canned Float Trip Pickles off and on all winter. Now, though, our grandkids who live locally, ages 15, 11, and 8, have discovered them, and my supply is rapidly diminishing. LOL

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Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Something for the Easter baskets?

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Ozark - Do you have a good recipe for "Refrigerator Pickles"? My cucumbers are coming in slowly and I'm not ready to can pickles.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Sure. For a basic pickle brine I make up any amount needed in the ratio of:

1 1/2 quarts white vinegar
1/2 quart apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 quarts water
7 tablespoons Kosher salt

If you need less or more to fill however many jars you're doing, just do the math and keep everything in the same proportion. I mix up brine in the amount of half the capacity of the jars I'm doing - that is, for 4 quart jars of pickles I'd make 2 quarts of brine. The amounts above make 3 1/2 quarts (7 pints) of brine, enough for 7 quarts of pickles with a little left over.

Put 'cukes, peppers, beets, cauliflower pieces, onions or whatever combination you're pickling in jars - then fill the jars with the brine mixture. If hot-canning pickles to keep long-term, have the brine boiling and pour it over the veggies to fill canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top - then attach canning lids and bands loosely, boil in a hot-water canner for five minutes, and tighten the bands as the jars cool and seal.

For refrigerator pickles, fill the jars of veggies with room-temp brine, attach lids, and put the jars in the 'fridge. It doesn't matter what kind of jars you use. After a few days start using the pickles - they'll keep for many weeks in the refrigerator.

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Ozark - From what you have written, it sure looks like you know your pickles. I'll want mine a littler sweeter so guess I'll just sweeten to suit my taste - wouldn't you say - and maybe add some celery seed. I like to make these and put them in ornate gallon jars and put in the frige downstairs, then pull out the jar and sit it on the table for a big event. I have misplaced the recipe I usually use, and I think I may have even given it away.
Nothing like loosing your recipe when it's time to do something with the cux's. THANKS!

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Brenda, it sounds like you've got it figured out. The brine mixture I posted above is basic. To that, of course, you can add sugar, herbs, spices, and whatever for the flavors you want. "Season to taste" applies big-time to pickle-making. Good luck with them!

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Thanks Ozark - you've got me under control.

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Ozark - I made pickles from your basic recipe. I did the math and cut recipe in half and it worked great. Thanks again.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I make my own pickles too--and everyone loves them.

My recipe is for about 3-4 med. jars. not a lg. quantity.
Also--they are ready to eat in less than a week. And--NO sterilizing
of jars and lids needed. just wash clean.

Here ya go:

Gita’s Refrigerator Garlic-Dill Pickles

Need: 3 wide-mouthed jars (pickle type), or some smaller ones.
One BIG bunch of fresh Dill
5-6 cloves Garlic (or to taste)—diced or thinly sliced.
10-12 pickling cucumbers--(such as Kirby). Fresh is best!
Store cucumbers are WAXED, and no way you can remove it! If you
must use store cukes, score them through the skin with a fork
and slice them thickly. They also have more seeds! But…it will
work if no others are available.
Lately—I have been using the long, English, seedless cucumbers.
They work very well.

To Do: Stuff jars ¼ full of fresh dill, stems and leaves! Sprinkle a gene-
rous amount of the chopped garlic on top. Mix up a bit.

Stuff jars as full as you can with speared or sliced cucumbers,
interspersing them with some more Dill and a bit of garlic.
For MY taste---I usually have too much garlic in these.
Some love it!

Prepare the Broth: In a 2Qt. saucepan, combine the following:
2 and a half cups water….3/4cup white vinegar (can be part
Apple Cider vinegar)…1 rounded, regular Tbs. KOSHER, or
Pickling salt (DO NOT use regular, iodized salt!!!).
1 regTbs. Sugar, 1tsp mustard seed, 1tsp. Pickling
Spice….OR--1-2 Bay leaves…6-8 pcs. Whole Allspice,
And about 1/2tsp. Hot pepper flakes.

Bring broth to a boil. Lower heat and simmer all, stirring often,
For about 10-15 minutes. Keep VERY hot until ready to use!

Filling Jars:
Stirring constantly, to distribute spices, ladle hot broth
evenly into jars until all contents are covered. Seal jars. Invert
each jar a couple of times to mix contents.
Let jars cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.

Pickles are ready to eat in a week! They will be delicious and
crunchy! Use them up in about 2-3-4 weeks, as they will soften
with time, but will still be good.

Enjoy! Gita

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Thanks Gita for sharing. I picked a 5 gallon bucket of cux's today, so I may put some of that Refrigerator Garlic-Dill Pickle info to good use.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Gita, that is pretty close to the way I make my ref dills. I only use the Dill blossoms and that is the way my aunt did it. She didn't like the leaves in there. And I leave my garlic whole or just sliced in half as I like to eat the pickled garlic.

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

terri - Our neighbors kids fight over the pickled garlic in the dilly beans.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

My kind of kids!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Well--some new things to consider....Cutting the garlic in half.
I always dice it fine. Do you get the same flavor with them just cut in half?

I DO use tie seed heads of the dill as well, but I use mostly the Dill leaves.
I think there is more Dill flavor in the leaves...
And, I agree--when opening the jar--the dill leaves look kind of yukky
all over on top. I fish them out if serving my pickles to other people.

I need to grow more Dill! There is never enough--and I end up buying
a bunch at the grocery store--for $1.99. Giant carries nice, big bunches of fresh Dill.

My Cuke plants are done...I think. All shriveled, mildewed and crunchy leaves.
A few Cukes still ganging on...When these are done--I will pull up the plants.
I have a back up bunch growing.....:o)


Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Dill is fun to grow. And the butterflies seem to love it!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Yeah, Terri--I just do not have a sunny space to plant them.

Planted a lot of Dill and parsley this spring--so the Swallowtail
caterpillars would have something to chow on.
I saw TWO!--the whole season.

Last year--they were all over the place--and I only had
3 parsley plants a 2 Dills.

I am sure many will have self-seeded from the many I had growing.
I had them in front of my monster tomato plants--kind of all choked out.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Don't throw out pickled dill leaves or garlic. Make homemade buttermilk ranch or Russian dressing. You'll never buy bottled again. Make cream cheese spreads and dips such as veggie cream cheese with dill or smoked clam dip with dill (add a small tin of smoked clams or oysters and a little Worcester sauce). A veggie cream cheese sandwich or wrap with pickled dill and sliced garden tomatoes is heavenly. Thin the same cream cheese spreads with sour cream or Greek yogurt for dips. Use the dill in mashed potatoes or gratins. Add to cream soups like potato, tomato or corn chowder. It's good in tuna or salmon salad. Likewise chicken salad. Run the garlic and dill through the food processor with a little good olive oil and brush on baguette slices. Then toast for really good garlic bread. Top a bagel, lox and cream cheese with chopped pickled dill. I don't throw out the garlic or dill leaves in a pickle. It all gets used.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


WOW!!!! So many great ideas!
My mouth was watering just reading all that.. Thanks...Gita

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you, Gita. I forgot to add pickled garlic and dill go into my coleslaw. In one version I use mayo, sugar, S&P, pickle juice and dill and garlic (which I leave whole but bruise before pickling). In the other I use rice wine vinegar and pickle juice, toasted sesame oil, a little sugar, S&P and Thai chilies. The second one is great for picnics and buffets because it can sit out. The dill and garlic are also good with cabbage braised in chicken stock or sweet and sour German-style cabbage. Both are great winter dishes. And I can't imagine eating either the hot or cold borscht I grew up enjoying (potato and beet with meat or red cabbage and beet) without dill and garlic.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I LOVE coleslaw!!!

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Maypop - you suggest many great things to try. THANKS for sharing.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Hope you will try some ideas suggested. I'm not so much a stick to the recipe person but if there is something that appeals in what's posted above please ask or DM. I am a food lover and caterer specializing in foods from our garden. Closer to the roots than a locavore.

Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Maypop, I'm sure to try some of your suggestions. Caterer - I'm impressed, no wonder you make things sound so good.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Ozark, thinking of you while seeing hundreds of tubes and floats daily on the Chattahoochee River from N. Georgia to Atlanta. The river originates up here near Maypop, flows down to our neighborhood in Atlanta and eventually empties into the Gulf. What great fun the river rats are having during "dog days". The kids have been going tubing when the come up on weekends.

Sharing a photo of the Asian style slaw I made for last night's dinner. Main from our garden and pickled dill and garlic from the pickle jar. I also got to craving borscht and have a batch going in the crockpot now.

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Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Wow Maypop, that looks delicious.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks, Brenda. At 1:30 I posted photos on the "What's for Dinner" thread of how the slaw ended up on tacos. I've used chopped up pickles like those described above on tacos too.

This message was edited Aug 29, 2014 12:07 PM

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

ahhh, that slaw looks good. I would eat it either way: with or without tacos!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Gosh, love the way my spelling above ends up from a tablet. lol I'll have to edit that.

Thanks, Terri. My honey had a wrap with some slaw inside for lunch.

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