posted by on September 23rd 2009 in Food & Pickling with 0 Comments

Fresh Cucumber Pickles

Fresh Cucumber Pickles

When a friend asked for my pickle recipe recently, it forced me into writing it down.  I don’t really bother with recipes for pickles since I just keep a gallon jug of brine handy. It is very easy and you don’t need to dig up measuring spoons (which are always missing in my house)  Ruhlman has a good section on brine in Ratio, but I learned this technique at Picklefest 2008.  It has a lower salinity than Ruhlman suggests, but it works for me.   As for the cucumbers, as many as will fit in your clean jar. It really pays to get some fresh produce here, if you can’t grow them, try a local farmer’s market.  The smaller, the better;  large ones have too many seeds and won’t fit in the jar, but  I sometimes cut them up to fit.  You can use pickling spice or I tend to make up something at pickling time.  Use a reasonable amount.

Brine:

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 8 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Pickling Spice:

  • Whole Mustard Seeds
  • Whole Black Peppercorns
  • Red Chili Flakes ( I use the Korean kind with no seeds, but you can use whatever you can find)
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom pod (one or two)
  • Allspice
  • Cloves

Other Ingredients:

  • Fresh Dill (lots – substitute dill seed if you can’t find fresh)
  • Garlic Cloves (at least two per quart container)
  • Fresh Grape Leaves (some claim they have enzymes to keep pickles crisper, but I’m skeptical –  I put them in because they look nice, and they are in season at the same time as cucumbers.)

The Technique:

Wash cucumbers well and slice off both ends since the blossom ends have a chemical that can cause softening.  Place in a clean mason-type or spring-top jar, add spice, garlic, dill  and brine to cover.  Set on counter at room temperature, out of the sun.  Twice daily or whenever you feel like it, “burp” the lid to release the gases.  After a few days, the mixture will turn cloudy; You should taste a cuke and see how it is going.  Depending on the temperature and various other factors like salinity, size and moisture content of cucumbers, etc, you should have a half-sour pickle by now, a little sour on the outside and still crisp and cucumbery in the middle.  I like them like this so I put them in the fridge to slow everything down.  They probably won’t last too long, they don’t at my house!