Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cucumbers in Vinegar

For several months now, I've had the urge to make pickles. I've never done this before, but from what I've
read it seems like a fairly straightforward process. All I need to do it sterilize some jars and then throw in some garlic, peppercorns, dill, and of course cucumbers. Cover that with a brine made out of salt, water, and vinegar and then leave it someplace cool for a couple of weeks.

I haven't tried that yet (but probably will sometime in the near future). Instead of a proper pickle (which involves fermentation) I've done more of a vinegar marinade, which is also delicious (and a lot less time-consuming). 

Basically, I followed the first couple steps of Smitten Kitchen's recipe for potato salad:

 Marinaded Cucumbers

2 fairly large cucumbers, sliced very thin
4 t salt
enough vinegar to just cover the cucumbers
1/4-1/2 c fresh chopped dill

Toss the cucumber slices with dill, and put it in a container with a lid (I used a plastic juice pitcher). In a small bowl, dissolve your salt into about a cup of vinegar (just pour the salt into the vinegar and stir it constantly). 

Once your salt is dissolved, pour the salty vinegar over the cucumber mixture. Pour in as much extra vinegar as is needed to just cover the cucumbers. Stir it around a little to make sure everything's nicely combined. 

Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (I left mine for 2 days, and the result was wonderfully potent).
When it's time to eat, either drain all the cucumbers or just pull what you want out of the brine. The result makes a great snack or side-dish.
Other herbs and spices would probably taste good as well. Maybe peppercorns and garlic, to make it taste more like a proper pickle? I plan to just mess around and figure out what works.

Keep in mind that this isn't a proper pickle. Nothing was sterilized, and it's not meant to be fermented. The cucumbers will probably keep for a while, but they should probably be eaten within a week. Just to be safe.

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