It wouldn’t feel like SUMMER to me if I didn’t have a jar of refrigerator pickles sitting in the fridge. There was always a bowl of pickled cucumbers on my grandma’s dinner table during the summer as far back as I can remember. She didn’t get any more exotic with the recipe than mixing water, vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper together and letting the cucumbers brine in it for several hours before dinner. I saw this recipe for a much more flavorful brine than I use in the FOOD-DAY section of our local newspaper. The recipe is from TED ALLEN’S new book “In My Kitchen.” Ted is host of the very popular “Chopped” on the food network channel. This recipe doesn’t require blanching the vegetables before brining, but I did dunk the carrots in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes to soften them just a bit. I added 1/2 cup sugar to the brine and a few PEPPERONCINI and SUN DRIED TOMATOES to the mix of vegetables. Suggested veggie choices are cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, turnips, onions, green beans, asparagus, JALAPENOS, watermelon rind, unripe green tomatoes, even apples. The pickles last for weeks in the fridge (where they must be kept at all times). A wide-mouth canning funnel is helpful for pouring hot brine into the vegetable packed jars.
I like a bit of everything on my plate when I’m hungry for these pickles so I don’t bother to make lovely, even layers in the jar. One attack with my fork and it will be all jumbled up anyway. My favorites are cucumber, carrots, cauliflower and sweet onions (I used Walla Walla). The CAULIFLOWER is really, really good. If you keep a jar of these tasty pickles in your refrigerator this summer you will have the best, low calorie snack ever and YOU can serve up an impressive relish tray at a moment’s notice.
- 4 cups water
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Several sprigs fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon pink peppercorns (if you have them)
- ½ cup sugar (my addition)
- 6 pickling cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 1 handful small green beans
- Cauliflower florets
- 4 small red chiles or 2 jalapenos (I used pepperoncini)
- In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil, reduce heat so the water simmers, and add garlic. (Simmering the garlic in water cooks out sulfur compounds that otherwise will cause the cloves to turn a harmless but very unappetizing blue-green color from the acid in the vinegar. Cook garlic for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat.
- In 2 sterile 1-quart canning jars, place a few springs of dill. Divid the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. then pack the jars full of the veggies and chiles (you want them to be tightly stuffed).
- Bring the brine back to a boil, pout it over the vegetables to cover completely. Let cool and refrigerate. The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, better after a couple of days. They will keep for about 3 months.
This post is linked to On The Menu Monday at StoneGable.
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