Pickles, pickles, pickles!

Today I made round two of some delicious English cucumber pickles that were very short-lived in the refrigerator.

I adapted it from an old Sunset magazine recipe.

3 quart sized containers with lids, like mason jars

4 large English cucumbers, sliced about 1/8″ thick

1 whole head garlic (because, why not?), gloves peeled and smashed
1 bunch fresh dill, whole
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1/3 cup salt
1 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp + honey, to taste
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes or 1 dried chili de arbol, if you so desire to give them a little kick
1-2 Tbsp each of any whole spices you can find, for example, some good ones are:

  • brown or yellow mustard seed
  • peppercorns of any color
  • allspice berries
  • coriander
  • dill seed
  • fennel seed
  • caraway seed
Start by putting the brine on while you prep the cucumbers. Put vinegars, water, salt, sugar, spices and honey in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to keep it hot. You may use all white vinegar if you like, but I think the slight natural sweetness of cider vinegar adds pleasant sweetness to the pickles without forcing it. Another note on sweetness – if your brine is not sweet enough, try using more honey before resulting to sugar. I find that the honey has, as the acidity in the cider vinegar, a smoother sweetness that adds nice balance.
 
While the brine is on, peel and smash your garlic with a heavy knife, then slice your cucumbers to about 1/8″ thick. Actual size is really up to preference, as long as it’s consistent. In your clean containers, drop all but a few of the garlic cloves straight in to the bottom. Line the sides of the jars high with fresh dill. Follow with cucumbers, making sure to drop them in individually so they don’t stick together which will allow the brine to marinate all the surfaces. Stuff them in there! They will shrink as they transfer some of their moisture to the hot brine once it is poured in.
Taste your brine for sweetness, and add more salt if you like. Just don’t breathe in while the spoon is near your nose – a lesson you will learn very quickly. If you are satisfied with your tasty brine, strain the liquid through a mesh strainer into the jars, filling almost to the top with liquid. Put lids on the jars right away. Let cool at room temp, then refrigerate. They are ready to eat right away, after they have cooled slightly, but the more they sit, the better they get. They will last for a a few weeks to a month in your refrigerator, longer if you process them in a hot water bath. 

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One thought on “Pickles, pickles, pickles!

  1. Pingback: The Egg Salad That Made Me Believe In Egg Salad | What's Bacon

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