I love pickles. My kids love pickles. I just planted my garden and guess what I am growing this year? Pickles. However, I never actually pickled a pickle. Any recipes out there? I particularly love the type you get at a good kosher deli, garlic, sour, half sour etc. Any tips are appreciated.
Quickest Pickle Ever:
3/4 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
1 cup water
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. chopped fresh dill
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves (or keep 'em whole)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
Slice up a cuke or two and half a white onion into a quart mason jar or any other glass container. Give the brine a taste and adjust for saltiness, sourness, etc. Pour over cukes and refrigerate overnight or up to... oh, I dunno, a couple weeks maybe?
I use a recipe similar to LauraGrace's. I've used sterilized canning jars/lids, filling them to the top with boiling brine. Although they are not processed, they usually form a vacuum when they cool, and I have kept them unrefrigerated in a cool basement, without a problem. Refrigerating is preferable but in this case I made too much. Proper canning, in a boiling water bath, is undoubtedly the wiser method but the pickles are then cooked, and I prefer the crisper, fresher taste of uncooked.
A caution from the one failure I had: I bought many pounds of pickling cukes on sale, and made a few stops so that by the time I pulled into my driveway, the plastic bag of cukes was pretty hot. I left it on the cool porch overnight and by the following afternoon, when I'd aldreay gotten started on the brine and other ingredients, I saw that the cukes were growing mold. Ignorantly, I thought the brine would kill whatever spores might be left after I thoroughly rinsed the cukes, but within a couple of days of basement storage, new mold was growing in every single jar. Lesson learned.
Even without boiling, the vinegar should make them fridge-safe for at least a few weeks, as LauraGrace mentions. Using sterilized jars and boiling brine, but without a hot bath once the jars are filled, they refrigerate indefinitely. I have on more than one occasion neglected an unopened jar at the back of the fridge - we're talking years here. The cukes had become too mushy to be appetizing, but were not tainted and could be chopped up for relish or tartar sauce. I also like the result using boiling brine over uncooked bell pepper rings or uncooked carrot sticks/coins. If you alternate rings of different color peppers in your jar, the finished result is very attractive and makes a welcome hostess gift.
Try some Alton Brown Good Eats pickles. These are fermented, like a good Kosher deli's:
This is basically how I make mine. I'm growing some heirloom cukes this summer for my pickling. Should be tasty.
A good book on lacto pickling is 'Wild Fermentation' by Sandor Katz.