It’s summertime and farmer’s markets are popping up everywhere. I love farmer’s markets because they’re great exposure to veggies and other produce you might not normally see in the grocery store (I’m talking to you, weird-looking squash.). Enter: pickling cucumbers. When I first saw them, I naively thought “Aww, look – little baby cucumbers! How adorable!” Then I saw the sign, “Pickling Cucumbers: $2.oo/lb.” and I knew what had to be done: homemade pickle experiment.
I started scouring the internet for articles on how to make pickles at home and let me tell you – there are a TON of different recipes out there. However, the basic formula is the same: pickling liquid + herbs and spices + cucumbers. So, I grabbed all the spices in my arsenal and started sniffing around, deciding which ones I would want to flavor my pickles with. Most folks seem to be partial towards one particular pickle flavor. I’m a dill pickle kinda girl, myself. So I decided to go with some of the basics: black peppercorn, coriander, garlic, and dill. I also decided to add a pinch of fennel seed and crushed red pepper because… well because why not, I suppose? This is just my first pickle experiment, after all. Eventually I’ll figure out what works for my palette and what doesn’t.
Below is the recipe I used (but feel free to add or subtract herbs and spices, as you see fit). Happy pickling!
6-8 Kirby cucumbers
3 c. water
3 c. distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. black peppercorns, divided
2 tsp. coriander seed, divided
1 tsp. fennel seed, divided
1 tsp. onion flakes, divided
1 tsp. red pepper flake, divided (optional)
4 Tbsp. fresh dill, divided (I actually just cut a small handful of dill sprigs from my potted dill plant. However, if I had chopped it up it probably would have been about 4 Tbsp.)
4 garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise
2 large mason jars
1. Rinse off your cucumbers and set aside to dry.
2. Add water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a pan and bring to a boil. Then, let simmer for 15 minutes. This is your “pickling brine”.
3. While your pickling brine simmers on the stove, add the black peppercorns, coriander seed, fennel seed, onion flakes, red pepper flakes, dill, and garlic cloves to your two mason jars, dividing the ingredients equally between the two jars.
4. Slice the ends off of each cucumber. Then slice each cucumber in half, lengthwise. Divide the sliced cucumbers equally between the two jars.
5. Pour the pickling brine into each jar, making sure there is enough liquid to cover the cucumbers. Wait a minute or two and then close the jar lids. Allow the jars to sit and cool down to room temperature before putting the jars in the refrigerator.
6. Refrigerate for about 24 hours before eating. This will give the flavors a chance to really meld. The pickles should keep for about a month. That being said, if anything starts to taste off or “funky” about them, it’s probably a good idea to just go ahead and get rid of them.