Making Pickles

Pickling Ingredients

Who knew making pickles would be this simple? During my time in the States, I was exposed to big deli-style pickles and I have grown quite fond of them (my boyfriend would say that’s an understatement; he would say that I have an unexpected and overwhelming enthusiasm when it comes to them).  Long story short, since my return to Paris, I’ve missed them dearly and I never pass up an opportunity to ask for extra pickles when I go somewhere that does manage to source them (like Breakfast in America).

Any kind of cucumber (or almost any raw veggie) will do

I don’t know why it’s taken me almost 5 years to get curious about home-made pickles, but boy am I happy my curiosity finally kicked in! I always thought I would need to find those small pickles to be able to pickle them myself, but turns out pickling works just as well with spears cut from the long English cucumbers! You could also definitely slice the cucumber into coins if you were going to use them more as garnish, than as a snack or side.

Once, you realize how quickly you can make these at home and how good they taste, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner. You can use this very same recipe on a number of other veggies, such as cauliflower, radishes, carrots and the list goes on. Why not try a mixed veggie pickling jar.

Cucumber Spears in a Glass Jar

Recycle your glassware

Recycled glass jars are a great way to store dry food items like nuts, baking supplies, and small candy or cookies. They also come in mighty handy for these pickles; no need to buy new glassware. You can simply recycle a glass pasta sauce jar or an old jam jar. I’ve found that it is easiest to work with wide-mouthed jars that are not too tall (10-14 cm).

All things considered, the hardest part of this whole endeavor will probably be patiently waiting the 48 hours for them to be properly pickled! Once you refrigerate them, these pickles will keep for several weeks. For tips on how to process the pickles for longer storage, check out the Kitchn’s great post.

Adding a couple of dill pickle spears to my lunch always makes lunchtimes especially exciting…granted, I am easily excitable. I pack them in a separate little box or Ziploc to enjoy with a sandwich, perhaps this Cabbage Chicken Salad one. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Pickling Brine

Home-Made Dill Pickles

Makes 1 jar

What you’ll need:

  • cucumber (enough spears or coins to tightly pack your chosen jar)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tbs Kosher salt

How to:

  1. Combine dill seed and chili flakes in the jar. Add the crushed garlic.
  2. Cut the cucumber into evenly sized spears (or coins). Ensure that the length of the spears allows for approximately 1-2 cm space from the top of the jar.
  3. Pack the spears tightly in the jar.
  4. In a small saucepan bring the salt, the apple cider vinegar and the water to a boil. Pour the brine over the pickles. You may not use all of the brine.
  5. Tap the jar on the counter a few times to ensure there are no air bubbles.
  6. Place the lid on the jar and seal tightly.
  7. Let the pickles cool completely before placing them in the refrigerator. For the flavors to fully develop, resist the temptation to try them for a full 48 hours.

Refrigerated pickles will keep for several weeks.

Recipe adapted from the Kitchn.

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