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Pickles!

August 1, 2010
by

We cleaned the refrigerator out today and discovered we had 10 cucumbers. A lot more than we thought we had, for sure! What to do? We decided to make pickles. :) This recipe is very heavily based on Mark Bittman’s recipe from his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook with minor changes based on our taste.

Pickling Spice

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 small dried red chilis
  • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbsp allspice (whole)
  • 2 Tbsps dill weed
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsps cloves (whole)
  • 2 tsps cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp green peppercorns

Crush the cinnamon sticks; break them into small bits. You can roll a jar or can on top of them to help break them up. Place the pieces in a bowl.

Chop the dried chilis up into small bits – if you are sensitive to spiciness, leave out the seeds. If you like a little spice, leave only 1/4 to 1/2 of the seeds. If you love heat, leave ‘em all. Add the chili pieces to the bowl.

Measure out all the other ingredients and add them to the bowl. Crush the ingredients in the bowl lightly – I used the bottom of a clean jar and pressed down on them. Crush them enough so you can smell the aroma but you don’t want to completely crush or grind them into a powder.

Pour the spices into an air-tight container and store. This makes roughly 1/2 cup of pickling spice.

Pickles

  • 2 pounds cucumbers (we used a mix, including a lemon cucumber!)
  • 6 Tbsp salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup pickling spice
  • Grab a large bowl. Wash and scrub your cucumbers, and slice them up. You can slice them into quarters for spears, or you can slide them into rounds, depending on which type of pickle you prefer. If you have a mandolin, you can use it, but all you really need is a knife.

    Set a large colander out. Take 1/3 of your sliced cucumbers and layer them on the bottom of the colander. Sprinkle roughly 1 Tbsp of salt evenly on top of this layer of cucumbers. Take another 1/3 of sliced cucumbers, place them in the colander, and repeat, sprinkling roughly 1 Tbsp of salt on the layer of cucumbers. Place the rest of the cucumbers in the colander and sprinkle one last tablespoon of salt evenly on the cucumbers. Place the colander inside of the large bowl you took the sliced cucumbers from. Stir up the cucumbers in the colander with a spoon or with clean hands to make sure the salt is evenly distributed, and allow the cucumbers to sit for about 2 hours to sweat water into the larger bowl.

    Mix the 3 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 of pickling spice, and 3 Tbsps of salt in a pot. Heat the mixture to a boil, then remove it from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

    Remove the colander with cucumbers from the large bowl, and pour out the water in the large bowl. Move the sliced cucumbers from the colander to the large bowl. Then, pour the cooled-off pickling brine over the cucumbers in the large bowl and let it cool to room temperature (we waited about 45 minutes.)

    Sterilize some glass jars – it took us 3 jars, two empty peanut butter jars and one empty tomato sauce jar – by pouring boiling water into the glass jars and letting it sit for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the cucumbers along with the brine into the jars – we used a soup ladle, and seal them tightly. Let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 days, after which they will be ready-to-eat.

    • Servings: Hard to say! It’s 3 jars of pickles! :) Let’s say it’s 12 servings.
    • Weight Watchers Points per serving: 1
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 12:57 am

    My family used to do a lot of pickles, a little over the summer for the taste and a lot in the autumn, to have all the winter covered (it was a different society then). What I remember from the recipe is they also added a few garlic pieces (I usually hate garlic, but was not enough to create discomfort, only a little bit) and, this is a less known trick, some small sour cherry tree branches to keep the pickles hard.

    I believe is the first time when I saw cucumbers pickled as slices, I am used to them pickled whole. They used big jars, 5, 10 or 15 litres and letting them sit a lot more before eating, and not in the refrigerator: During the summer the jars were kept at room temperature to accelerate the process and they were ready to eat after changing color – this was IIRC 1-2 weeks… or maybe a bit faster if kept outside in the warm summer. For the winter pickles. the jars were put in a cool cellar, ready to eat after more than one month and usable… until the spring came… people used to eat from those pickles until March-April.

  2. August 2, 2010 12:11 am

    Wow yum, that looks amazing!

    Also, congratulations!

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