I returned from 16 days visiting family (but who’s counting?) to find a nearly bare refrigerator.  Faced with only veggie burgers and my homemade pickles, lunch was slim pickin’s. However, this provided me with an opportunity to savor the pickles I made a few weeks ago and to research in my newly acquired Food Lover’s Companion (by Sharon Tyler Herbst) the subject of pickles.

As a noun, pickles are created from submersion in brine or vinegar.  You can pickle cucumbers, onions, watermelon rind, cauliflower, pig’s feet, eggs, herring….You can add spices, like dill for dill pickles.  You can go sweet, sour, hot, or a combination.  As a verb, to pickle is to preserve in a brine or vinegar mixture, which is one type of curing.

Here’s how I adjusted Tyler Florence’s recipe for Quick Sweet Pickles  Serves:  1 quart

  • 6 kirby cucumbers or 2 regular cucumbers (I used kirbies from the farmer’s stand and tiny cukes from WalMart.)
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar because it’s alkaline and I’m watching my acidity level.  Don’t ask.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

Wash and dry the cucumbers. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice the cucumbers thinly and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Place the colander over a bowl and allow it to sit, covered, for about 1 hour. Rinse off the salt and dry the cucumber slices well. Place them into a sterilized quart jar. [I just hauled out a big plastic canister.] In a small saucepan add the remaining ingredients. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Pour the brine over the cucumbers in jar. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Will keep, refrigerated, for about 2 weeks. [maybe longer?]


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