I actually planted two varieties of cukes this year: an heirloom Armenian cucumber that I've enjoyed juiced, sliced in salads, and most recently, as a refreshing aguas frescas; and the smaller Kirby you see pictured above, for pickling. My garden runneth over.
Someone asked me recently if I knew how to make pickles. Hello, I'm Hungarian, aren't I?
Sometime later, maybe when I was in high school, Mom's sister-in-law showed her another, faster way to make pickles...in the refrigerator. Since there's no boiling brine poured over top of them, the cukes retain their color, crispness and flavor — and smack of garlic!
raw cider vinegar
1 Tbsp coarse salt
sprig of fresh dill
sprig of fresh thyme
5 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1 Tbsp dried chili pepper
I like to sterilize my mason jars in a pre-heated 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You can also run them through the dishwasher.
You'll need enough small pickling cucumbers to fit in a large-mouth mason jar. Slice 'em into spears, chips, or leave whole. It's up to you.
Place all spices into the jar and fill with cucumber. Pack in as many as you can. Fill the jar about 2/3 with raw cider vinegar. Add water until the jar is full. Screw the lid on and turn the jar over to mix the ingredients well. Store in the refrigerator.
These can actually be eaten the very next day, but obviously, the longer they sit, the stronger the taste. You can always adjust the spices to suit your taste buds.
My fridge is stocked right now. I absolutely delight in sending visiting friends and family home with a jar of homemade pickles, fresh from the garden. Come on over and get yours!