Quick (and Spicy) Pickles

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I would go to farmers’ markets approximately 18 times more often if it weren’t such a …  morning people activity.  A chipper bunch they are, and bless their hearts, for the world needs baristas and Matt Lauers.

It’s not that I sleep in like I used to during, say, college.  It’s just that in my universe, there’s something deeply wrong with skipping the weekend morning ritual of bedhead hair, stylin’ sleepwear (obviously), glasses, and a leisurely three mugs of coffee from my French press (arguably the best, most relaxing method of caffeine intake).

But goodness knows, I do do the farmers’ market thing, if only for the last hour.  And you know what I keep finding?  Gorgeous, perfectly crooked, perfectly goosebumped, perfectly crisp little pickling cucumbers.  I give up that third mug of coffee sometimes, but in return?  Pickles for this girl.

There are two ways to go about pickling: fermenting and quick pickling.  Fermenting involves a brine solution and takes a few weeks, while the quick method, through the cunning use of vinegar, guarantees Maximum Pickle Enjoyment in about 24 hours.  Do you like the sound of that?  I did.  I also like the sound of “let’s add crushed red pepper because this is a free country.”

So, let’s clean some jars.  I used a quart jar and two pint jars to pickle roughly two pounds of cucumbers, which is about 6-7 cucumbers.

Pickle spears are my preference, but you could certainly leave these whole, or slice them.  Make dinosaur shapes with them–you are the captain of the pickle submarine.

Dill is always a necessity.

This here is a bubbly cauldron of spices, salt, sugar, vinegar and water.  Nothing intense here–just heat up and simmer for a bit.

…I spilled a little.  Living dangerously without a funnel goes like that sometimes.

Just like that, these are ready to cool and head to the fridge.  In a day or so, you will be the mayor of Pickle Town.  Enjoy!

P.S. Guffawing at this Tumblr is also part of my weekend morning ritual.  It’s so, so good.
P.P.S. This was on my to-do list.

Quick (and Spicy) Pickles

2 lbs pickling cucumbers (6-7 cucumbers)
1-2 bunches fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 cups distilled white vinegar
3 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (optional; use less if you don’t love spicy things) 

Distribute dill, garlic and cucumbers (whole or cut up) evenly among two 1-quart  (or some roughly equivalent volume) resealable jars.  In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes or so; remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.  Pour the hot mixture into the jars over the pickles, and let stand for 10-15 minutes.  Close the jars and refrigerate–they will be ready for your enjoyment in a day or so.

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