Nope, not an afternoon of gin-and-tonics, and not Hendrick’s pickles (an idea via From Belly to Bacon that’s brilliant on a number of levels). That’ll have to wait for another time and another post. But these are quick pickles, truly barely pickled cucumbers. A 24-hour soak in a 5% brine along with garlic, peppercorns, and coriander seeds and you end up with terrific crunch, just salty and garlicky enough, like those bowls of pickles you get at some burger places (Ted’s Montana Grill is one). They’re not sour at all. No vinegar; no fermentation to speak of. I might add some vinegar next time, but not that much, because I didn’t really miss it. For other quick garlic pickle recipes with vinegar, see these posts from Feed Yo Self and The Hungry Mouse. But these were really nice.
Calling this a recipe is kind of a stretch:
- pickling or Kirby cucumbers, washed, chunked into large pieces or sliced thick
- 5% salt brine, by weight
- optional: peppercorns, coriander seeds, dill seeds, crushed red pepper, mustard seeds, cloves, crushed garlic cloves, fresh dill.
The easiest way to find out how much brine you need is to fill up your container (I used a 1 quart mason jar) with your cucumbers, then fill with cold water. Pour that water out into a bowl set on a scale; use that as your starting weight to calculate the salt (5% of total water weight). Heat the water and salt to dissolve along with any spices you’re going to use. If using fresh dill, add that after the brine has cooled. Chill the brine, pour over the cucumbers, and let it set in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Done. They’ll keep getting saltier, and will ferment eventually, which is a good thing, but these won’t last much more than a few days in our house.
For more of our posts on pickling:
- Pickled peppers and pig’s ears
- Refrigerator pickles
- The Natural Pickle – sour garlic dills
- Produce Preservation: bread & butter pickles
- A Rookie Post on Ramps
UPDATE 7/11/12 — These lasted a week, and were just as crunchy after 7 days as they were after 1, which I’m pretty happy about. They also didn’t get too salty. Still not a ton of sour, which is understandable, since they’ve been in the fridge, but it’s good to know that this method works a handful of days in advance, if you’re going for that really fresh flavor and crunch. — Scott