Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quick Pickles

I bought some nice little garden cucumbers at a vegetable stand today. It was a new veggie stand I'd never been to before, on my way to 9round Charlotte. I also picked up some yellow squash, a purple and a white eggplant, a few ears of corn, strawberries & blackberries. I'm not a huge eater of raw cukes, and I don't eat as many salads as I should, but they looked too good to leave behind. When I got home I remembered a recipe in my new EatingWell in Season: Farmer's Market Cookbook I reviewed a few blogs back for quick pickles. I decided to give it a try, slightly modified with what I had on hand.

I'll give you the recipe as it's written, then let you know how I modified it, and how it turned out!

1.25 lb pickling cucumbers, cut to 1/4 inch slices
1.5 teaspoon salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup slivered onion
2 cloves slivered garlic
1 tsp dill seed
1 tsp mustard seed

Slice the cukes and put them in a collandar in the sink, or over a bowl. Toss them with the salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, drain, place in a heatproof bowl.

While the cukes are doing their thing, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the cukes and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

I only had 2 medium sized pickles, less than the recipe called for, so I cut each vinegar down to 3/4 cup, and slightly reduced the amount of onions I used (which were Vidalia, by the way). I had dark brown sugar, so I used about 1/4 cup of that and 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw). I doubled the garlic (because there can never be enough garlic!). I didn't have dill seed or mustard seed and I didn't feel like going out to get any. I had a tsp or two of pickling spice laying around so I did my best to pick out the cloves and cinnamon and added that for my seasoning. I also added a whole bay leaf and about a teaspoon of crushed red pepper because I like things spicy! I put the sliced and salted cukes in the fridge for their 20 minute rest before I added the hot pickling liquid.

The finished product:

The verdict:

SUPER YUM! I tried them at 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 1 hour after sitting in the fridge. The flavor improves with time. I'd liken them to bread & butter pickles vs. standard dills as they are a bit sweet, but they've got more vinegar than the standard B&B pickle too. The spice for me was just right. I'd definitely like to experiment with different spices and herbs, but I think the base ingredients for the pickling liquid is spot on. They were garlicky, but not overwhelming, so I think the doubling of the garlic is a good call! I'm kind of intimidated when it comes to canning (don't ask me why, I haven't done it since I was a kid), plus I'm impatient when it comes to letting canned pickles sit for weeks before they're ready. This is a winner in the categories of "easy" and "instant gratification".

As the recipe is written, it makes 16 portions, 1/4 cup each. There are 10 calories per serving, zero fat or cholesterol, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 1g fiber, and 16g potassium. Your insta-pickles will keep, refrigerated, for 10 days. Definitely a healthy and quick snack for the summer time!

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