Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bread and Butter Pickles

I may have mentioned before that I have been searching the Earth high and low for some pickling cucumbers. Even more organically inclined or specialty-ish grocery stores have been seriously letting me down in this realm. But I guess now I have one more reason to appreciate the farmers market because they have answered my prayers and now with cucumbers in hand I embark on a mythical quest to make a mighty fine pickle. I tend to love all pickles of all different vegetables but for these I really wanted to make the slightly sweet, perfect with cheese and crackers bread and butter pickle which has always been so near and dear to my heart. Just as a warning, there is no canning going on here, I just made them in an airtight jar so they will keep for about 3 weeks in the fridge.

Also, an added incentive arose! Earlier in the summer when I was telling my mom about my journey to make my own pickle and asking her if she had seen them in any stores I cleverly got her to promise to try one if I made them. She is on a crazy restrictive diet (crazy but highly highly effective) and so she has not been allowed to try anything I've made since the inception of this blog. Two months ago though, I garnered the promise and I made her eat one of my pickles darn it! She liked it but I wouldn't take that too seriously because she hasn't eaten anything really awesome for a while now. The rest of my family who have eaten real food recently though (myself included) also thought these were pretty tasty.



on the left: appropriately sized for pickles
on the right: ridiculous!

So I suppose I should have been more selective with my pickle choices because in total there were about 5 slices that were the perfect size for pickles and the rest were just egregiously large. I had to buy equally egregiously large crackers to accommodate them.
Before cooking it helps to let the cucumbers, with some onions and salt, sit under some ice at room temperature for about two hours. This helps with the crispness. Also, I just used normal morton salt even though the original recipe calls for special diamond kosher salt. I just rinsed mine off a little bit after the ice bath and they turned out fine. If you use the special salt then rinsing isn't necessary.
The room temperature cucumber slices are then cooked for a minute with the pickling liquid which includes a lovely array of spices. Including turmeric which I have a tendency of not getting along with because no matter how careful I am, I somehow always end up with a yellow splotch on my white counters. It can be frustrating.
I got a pretty cool jar from world market to put my pickles in and within just a few hours in the fridge they began to taste like the real thing. Yet better because I made them! yes!

I found the original recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It was pretty exciting to begin with so I only changed a few minor things (mostly to adapt for ingredients I didn't have on hand).

Ingredients
1 pound pickling cucumbers sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 large sweet onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground mustard

1. In a medium bowl toss the onions, salt and cucumbers together then put enough ice on top to cover. Let this stand at room temperature for two hours then drain and rinse off the salt.

2. In a pot bring the vinegar, sugar and spices to a boil. Add the drained cucumbers and onions, stir to coat, then bring back almost to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Feel free to start eating after they have been cooled in the fridge for a few hours.

1 comment:

  1. I have also found it incredibly hard this year to find the right little cucumbers. Even my market hasn't had great ones this year.

    ReplyDelete

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