I stopped at a farm stand on the way to work this week, and they had the cutest little baby “middle eastern” cucumbers. Cute as can be. I asked about their potential future as a pickle, and the farmstress said the skins were SOOO tender and they’d probably make a fine pickle! So I grabbed five (four for pickling and one for fresh) and took them home with intention to pickle ’em.
I don’t can, in the sense of hot water and headroom and sterilized jars. My grandmothers did. My mother has. I’m just a little intimidated by the whole botulism risk I think. And the heat. In the middle of summer. And the steam. I need an ice tea already!
Quick refrigerator pickles, though, are a totally different story. I’ve done them in the past (can’t find the recipe of course) and there are 1000s of recipes out on the internet. I’ve also done pickled shallots with much success (on a spicy lamb burger with greek yogurt OMG sounds like another blog post, eh?), but I was aiming for something sweeter, more like a bread-and-butter pickle, but without the jaw achingly sweetness. This brine struck that balance … sweet, but not too sweet … sour, but not too sour … salty, but not too salty!
I started these off in the morning before work and had serviceable pickles for dinner. They continued to percolate and mellow over the next day or so. Use within about 3 weeks I’m guessing.
Quick Refrigerator Sweet Pickles
4-6 very firm smallish cucumbers
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice (bay, pepper, mustard, …)
Slice your cucumber into rounds about 1/4″ thick. Place them in a large heat-proof glass bowl.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the cucumber slices and stir to ensure all the slices are submerged. Cover. Allow to cool on the countertop. Refrigerate. Keep refrigerated under cover for up to 3 weeks. Discard if you start to get off smells or colors!
I especially like them with peanut-butter-filled pretzels. Peanut butter and pickles are a match made in heaven. You know, I bet these would taste amazing deep-fried! Hmmmm … do I sense yet another post coming up ?