Monday, July 21, 2014
Last week we made picked zucchini. Today it's pickled cucumbers.
I've made pickles too many times to count, and I have to say that they've all been delicious. I think this says far less about my cooking ability (or pickling ability, as the case may be), and far more about how generally foolproof pickling is.
But I digress. Making pickles is surprisingly easy and you end up not only with a delicious snack, but with lots of jars full of delectable looking summer goodness. (Okay, that description may border on flowery, but I just couldn't fight the urge.)
As with the pickled zucchini, it's really all about the produce. Don't bother making pickles with anything less than fresh, crisp cucumbers. Making sure they're pretty is a plus as well. Cut your spears uniformly, so that they sit nicely in the jar. This is essential if you think there is any chance you may feel the urge to give someone a jar of pickles. You'll want the opportunity to really impress the recipient with your kitchen prowess. Let's face it, they probably won't know how easy it is to make pickles. And there's a good chance they may never eat them, so you'll want the pickles to at least make an impressive presentation.
Oh come on. How many gift baskets have you received where two years later you find the remnants in the back of your pantry?
This is a pretty basic recipe, good for all of you pickling neophytes out there. Pick up some nice pickling cucumbers and give these a try. I promise they'll be so good you probably won't be willing to part with even one jar.
Recipe: Nadine's Pickles
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 cups cucumber spears
2 cloves garlic, whole per jar
2 heads fresh dill
Stir water, vinegar, sugar, and sea salt together in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool completely.
Slice the cucumbers into spears. Drop two whole garlic cloves, a couple of sprigs of dill, and about a tablespoon of pickling spices into each jar. Pack the cucumber spears into the jars.
Pour cooled vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Store in refrigerator or process in a water bath and store in a cool place. The pickles will be ready to eat in a week or two.