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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spicy Homemade Pickles

Pickling is a "thing."  It's been a "thing" since I can remember.  I've loved being served a spear alongside a burger or tuna sandwich as much as I've loved buying a whole dill pickle at the snack bar in its brine its individual plastic bag in its brine and taking a big bite into it.. feeling the crunchy tanginess fill me with happiness.
Another thing that brings a little smile to the corner of my eye is the verb "to pickle."  I've always jokingly said that French is rich in grammar but poor in vocabulary.. mostly to get a reaction out of my French friends.. but then I keep stumbling upon examples of the wealthy English vocabulary.  The French word for pickling is "confire" with is the same word used wether you are slow cooking meat in its fat or making jam.  If you say you've been spending the afternoon pickling in French, they have no idea what you are talking about without more input.
The only problem with pickling is that you can make them in 10 minutes.. but then must wait at least 48 hours before munching on them.  I'm ok with the 10 minutes.. because when I have the urge.. I want it now.. but I rarely know that I'm going to want pickles 2 days ahead of time.  when I want them.. I want them.
I hacked myself by making these the day before I went for a week vacation.  This way, I indirectly forced myself to not open the jars to let the veggies enough time to soak in their deliciously spicy tangy brine.  I used cucumber and carrots, but zucchini would be nice here as well.  The whole idea is to keep the water-vinegar-kosher salt ratio the same.  I made 1 pint but you can easily double or triple it depending on your ultimate desires.
I may do this next time I need to go out of town on business!
Yield 1 pint (1/2L)
1 cucumber, cut into spears
1-2 carrots, cut into sticks
4 cloves garlic
2 green chiles, seeded and halved
2 tsp fresh dill
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
juice from 1 lemon
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup cider vinegar
1.  Prepare your pint jars (or 2 half pint jars) with the cut veggies, garlic, chiles, dill, mustard seeds, black pepper, and lemon.
2.  In a pot, bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a rolling boil
then pour into the prepared jars.  You might not use all of the brine.  Top off the jars and close the lids.
3.  If you want to process, this is the time.  If not, wait at least 48 hours in the fridge before digging in.  These will keep 3-4 weeks in the fridge unprocessed.  This waiting time is the hardest part.. seriously.
Have as a snack or alongside a nice burger, sandwich, or salad.
I love the zesty snap the cucumbers and garlic had.  I was only planning on eating the cucumbers and carrots, but I just discovered how amazing pickled garlic is!!

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