August 25, 2015

Refrigerator Pickles

Cucumber have the unique ability to be completely gross
normally, yet super delicious pickled. Because, witchcraft.
If there's one thing that everybody who's gone shopping with me at 2 in the morning knows, it's that I love pickles. Also, I have strong feelings on self-checkout kiosks. But mostly it's the pickle thing. At their best they're refreshing, salty, crispy, and about 5 different kinds of awesome. And also about 5 dollars for a little jar of cut-up cucumber. And even though I love pickles, that's just too much. Fortunately, after some basic research, I found out that I could make my own pickles, without too much of a hassle, for a fraction of the price. And nothing says delicious pickles like fiscal responsibility.

Ingredients:

1.5 Cups Water
1.5 Cups White Vinegar
2.5 TBSP Salt
Cucumbers, or other junk (Turns out you can pickle pretty much anything. Cucumbers are awesome, but you got carrots? You can pickle em. You got cauliflower? You can pickle it. You've got a side of brisket? Oh, you better believe you can pickle it)
One bunch fresh Dill
4 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Mustard Seed
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 tsp Celery Seed
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

There are a number of different kinds of pickles, some of which are prepared in slightly different ways. These are refrigerator pickles, which means that their brine has vinegar added, and they do their magic in the fridge. As opposed to pickles that are straight-up fermented in a salt brine with natural bacteria, which requires a couple weeks, some specialized equipment, and a higher tolerance for gross. All in all, refrigerator pickles seemed to be the way to go to ease my way into the pickling world, so that I can inevitably betray and conquer it. What was the point I was trying to make before I fell down the endless hole of exposition that is this paragraph? Oh yeah! There are lots of different pickles, and if you want to experiment with your own flavors, go for it. For instance, I made a batch alongside this one that had fresh jalapeƱo and ground ginger in it. This recipe is a good starting place, but get creative. The sky's the limit! Literally. Don't make pickles in space (I'm looking at you, Hungarian astronauts).

The first thing you're gonna need to do is put your Water, Vinegar, and Salt together in a pot, and boil them. Yes, your kitchen will smell like vinegar for an hour or so. That's kind of unavoidable. The good news is your kitchen won't smell like whatever it currently smells like, so for once you won't feel the crippling shame of being a secret food-hoarder. Anyhow, once your brine is made, turn off the heat, and get choppity chopping. Peel and slice your Garlic, and cut your Cucumbers into spears, which is pickle for quarters. Is this because the original pickles were used as weapons by a tribe of prehistoric proto-chefs who were very quickly wiped out by the tribe next door? Yes. That's exactly the reason.

Protip: if you don't want your hands to smell like pickles all
day, refrain from artfully arranging your pickles in the jar.
Now it's time to fret about what the hell you're going to store your pickles in. If you're a badass like me, you can wash and reuse some pickle jars from your last late-night pickle shopping adventure (Because nothing says "badass" like fiscal responsibility). Failing that, get a big bowl. If even that it too much for you, get a drinking glass. And if you can't manage that, give up on pickles for now. You've got bigger problems to work on. Regardless of what sadness-level your chosen pickle vessel is, now is the time to fill it with crap. Unless you're using multiple jars. In which case it's time to fill them with crap. So shove in your Dill, Cucumbers/mystery vegetation, Garlic, Peppercorns, Mustard Seeds, and Celery Seeds. If you want to be fancy, you can delicately layer these ingredients. Or you can haphazardly throw them in without giving a damn. You know, like a man. Regardless of how effeminate your pickle stacking is, cover all that nonsense with your brine. Wait for it to cool down to room temperature, tap it a couple of times to get the air bubbles out, and you've got pickles! Eventually! Cover them, and shove them in the fridge for at least 48 hours. Personally, I'd say a week is even better, but 48 hours is your minimum. Your patience will be rewarded. Probably.

6 comments:

  1. As usual, yummy-sounding and hysterically funny! (Including the links)

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  2. That sounds amazing, and I am totally going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us all :)

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  3. I love pickles - could probably live on them at a push (if I had a daily baguette supply), so this perfect. You have the perfect brother Toby, can I adopt him?!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I'll try and make baguettes happen soon so you can live the dream.

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    2. Jane, you can try, but he's not easily tamed... Good luck!

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  4. Reader update: I made these and they were even more awesome than we had dreamed :)

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