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!
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.