Salty, Spicy Pickles

I am a huge fan of pickles, salty, tangy, tasting of brine and herbs, spiced with peppers and garlic.  The sweet kind, not so much – I can do without.  Don’t get me wrong, a good sweet pickle can be testy on occasion, especially paired with another food of differing flavor spectrum.  It’s just that, like with my women and my oysters, I prefer my pickles salty to sweet.

This being the summer season and cucumbers being bountiful in stores and at farmers markets, I have been experimenting with making my own pickles.  Because of time constraints (or is it laziness?) I haven’t yet graduated beyond the refrigerator pickle variety, but, heck, at the rate I eat these things, they’re gone before the end of their shelf life.  A few batches in, and already an even haphazard and hurried refrigerator pickle comes out better than any limp, under-spiced, overwrought store-bought imposter.

Last night, I started a new batch of cucumber spears I’d picked up a couple of weeks back at the Waverly Farmers Market and that had been languishing on the shelf.  I had enough for three jars of spears spiced with peppercorns, coriander seeds, Thai chilies, garlic, and chives, with plenty of salt and red wine vinegar.  Total time to produce – maybe 15 minutes.

In case of interest, here’s the recipe.  Time will tell how they turn out (about a month in the refrigerator should do the trick), but I’m already excited.

Per each 16 ounce jar:

  • 3 medium cucumbers (cut into spears, or slices, or whatever preferred shape)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp assorted peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Thai chili peppers, halved
  • 3-4 stalks chives (w/ blossoms, if any)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar

Place the salt in the bottom of a clean 16 ounce jar.  Add spices, chili peppers, chives, garlic cloves, and red wine vinegar.  Stuff in cucumber spears/slices/preferred shapes.  Pour over boiling water until jar is full.  Close tightly with lid and shake to dissolve salt and mix up ingredients.  Let cool, then place in refrigerator for a few weeks to about a month, occasionally shaking to stir up ingredients.

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