Saturday, July 3, 2010

Refrigerator Pickles

It's cucumber time in our CSA box, and no one in the house really eats cucumbers, plural. I mean, I like cucumbers just fine, but give me several at a time and I'm kind of at a loss with what to do with them.  Thankfully, I found a recipe for pickles on Prudent Baby, but since I did not have all of the ingredients on hand, I did my own little take on refrigerator pickles.  I suggest using wide-mouth jars for this.

Refrigerator Pickles
two large cucumbers, thinly sliced (I like to use a mandoline)
half a red onion, thinly sliced

1 and 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, sliced (I used some from our harvest, yay!)

Arrange cucumbers in clean jars and put a layer of red onion on top.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil; boil for one minute.  Pour liquid over cucumbers and onion and seal jars.  Refrigerate for 3-4 days to let flavors meld.

It hasn't been three days yet, but the onion is turning the most gorgeous hot pink thanks to the vinegar and curry powder.  I did a little taste test and they're quite good already!

And while we're on the subject of pickles, can we talk about real, honest-to-goodness canning?  I love love love the idea of canning.  Every summer my grandmother and I would go berry picking, hull strawberries on the porch while chatting, and then make a big batch of jam in a very humid kitchen.  It was wonderful.  The bagful of fresh, jewel-toned strawberry jam she sent me home with was just a bonus; it was the process that I loved.

However, I find canning solo intimidating as hell.  I'm not growing enough in our garden to want to put up our own vegetables, but I'd like to try a batch of jam or pickles just for fun.  Does anyone have any tips, a fail-safe recipe or a book that they love?  I feel like since I am in New Mexico I am ethically obligated to make green chile jam (great with cream cheese and crackers), but every time I cook with hot peppers I foolishly rub my eyes afterwards.  Or worse.

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