Remember when I wrote about making sauces and condiments at home instead of store-bought? Well, here I go adding to the list of things I won’t be buying at the grocery store again. Pickles. Pickled ANYthing.
A while ago I made a mental note to make some quick pickles because I bought too many cucumbers and I remembered an episode of 30 Minute Meals where Rachel Ray made some pickled veggies. Before that, I always thought it took weeks to make pickles, at least.
Anyway, I never got around to making my own and could not eat enough salad fast enough to keep those cukes from going bad. On my next grocery run, I made the same “mistake” and bought (too many) cucumbers. I had the idea that I would start drinking cucumber water that I’ve been seeing everywhere AND finally make my own pickles.
This time I did get around to it and made a very small batch of sliced pickles. I literally only used 1 cuke, just in case I hated it. I made the simplest form a pickle possible – cucumber slices soaked in vinegar. And I liked it.
Meanwhile, we had a little party for our littlest’s basketball team with hot dogs and sliders and guess what I needed… Pickles. I bought a jar of hamburger dill chips but I wasn’t happy about it – mainly because I knew that I could make them, I just hadn’t done what I said I would do. (Why are they called hamburger dill chips anyway?)
After that day, I again bought more cucumbers than I could eat before going bad (although by this point I am snacking on seasoned cucumbers, drinking cucumber water, and making all kinds of cucumber based salads sans lettuce) and a whole heap of jalapeños because they were on a crazy sale. Just FYI, frozen jalapeños DO NOT pack the same punch as fresh when you cook with them.
Finally I have gotten around to making these darn pickles and there’s no going back. We love them! Now that my planter box is done and I’ve planted cucumbers, we’ll (hopefully) have an endless supply of the best pickles ever – and they may even be organic.
I also love that I can make them taste however I want. Sour pickles – done. Sweet pickles – done. Sweet & spicy pickles – done. Bread & butter pickles – done. All it takes is variations in the spices. But here’s my favorite simple pickle “recipe”:
- cucumbers, sliced – enough to pack a jar
- jalapeños, sliced – optional, adjust amount to your heat level
- 1t sea salt
- 1/2t peppercorns
- white vinegar, 5% acidity
Fill a mason jar with sliced pickles, sliced jalapeños, sea salt and peppercorns. Pack it in really tight. Fill the jar with vinegar. There should be no space left at the top of the jar. Screw on the top, shake it up and refrigerate.
They can be eaten pretty quickly, like as soon as the salt is fully dissolved but I think they’re best if they soak at least overnight.
Using this method, you can pickle anything. You know those jars of jalapeños you buy in the store? Same concept – sliced (or even whole) jalapeños stuffed in a jar and soaked with vinegar. Some people even eat pickled eggs – I’m not touching that 1, but you get the idea.
So how ’bout it? Do you make your own pickles or are you willing to give it a try?