by Francesca Patterson
While the most traditional and appreciated pickles are fermented for at least a good week, I wanted to recreate a kind of pickle my parents would make from our cucumbers in the backyard garden. The cold and tangy crunch of a pickle on a hot day has to be one of the greatest things about summer. Most pickle recipes taste their best with very fresh Kirby cucumbers. The fresher the cucumber, the better the crunch that is preserved. Kirby cucumbers are a bit different from the well-known standard kind. Kirbies have thinner skin and smaller seeds, which makes them preferable for snacking. Since these cucumbers were sliced before being pickled, they will absorb all of the liquids and flavor much more quickly. Although this does decrease the shelf life, this pickling brine can be used at least one more time with a fresh batch of cucumbers. With more time on your hands, you can keep the cucumbers full while pickling and they will last longer. Let the full pickles sit in their brine for 3-7 days before eating.
These quick refrigerator pickles will be the refreshing summer crunch that you crave when you open the fridge for a snack or sandwich condiment. This recipe also makes for a wonderful addition to any summertime dinner table and can be used for a variety of other pickle-able vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots. Use this quick pickle recipe as a template and change the amounts and kinds of spices for different flavor profiles. It is hard to mess up on this recipe, so have fun with it and see what works for you!
3 or 4 fresh Kirby cucumbers (washed and cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1/3 cup of white vinegar
1 cup of water
1 tsp of sugar
2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black peppercorn
1/4 tsp of red pepper (optional)
1 clove of garlic (smashed or diced)
1 tsp of mustard seed
- Prep Kirby cucumbers by slicing into 1/2 inch slices and arranging in a jar or airtight container. Add mustard seed, red and black pepper and smashed garlic.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Mix until salt and sugar have completely dissolved.
- Pour mixture over cucumbers, close lid and gently shake until it has distributed. Adjust spices to taste if necessary.
- Refrigerate for at least 7 hours, but best if left overnight to allow for flavors to absorb. These pickles can last for up to a week, however, the brine can be reused up to two more times with new cucumbers.