I’ve been wanting to experiment with pickles now for a while. With only a few ingredients, you can turn a fresh cucumber into a dill, bread and butter, or spicy asian pickle pretty simply. Our CSA gave us some earlier in the season. We weren’t totally impressed with them so I decided to give it a try on my own.

I found a few different recipes and gathered various ingredients that I didn’t already have on hand, such as mustard seed or dill seed. They are relatively easy to find at a spice specialty shop or in your supermarket. I picked up some Kirby cucumbers at the farm stand at Moods Farm Market, where we went blackberry picking. A few days later I selected my first recipe from Food in Jars.

There are a few ways to make pickles. One involves large batches of cucumbers and a canning/preserving routine. One can be done within a matter of hours, or overnight. I only had about 6 kirbys and I didn’t need to preserve them, so I went for the overnight.

Asian-Inspired Refrigerator Pickles
Adapted from Food In Jars– A Canning Blog

5-6 kirby (pickling) cucumbers, each cut into six spears
1 chili pepper (I used jalapeno, because it was what we had on hand- worked just fine.)
1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 limes, juiced
3-4 scallions, chopped (greens and whites)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 sprigs of mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pack the cucumber spears into a quart jar. Slide the chili pepper down in among the cucumber spears. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, scallions, garlic cloves, mint and salt. Pour over the cucumbers. Using your fingers, poke some of the garlic slivers, mint and scallion down amidst the cucumbers. Screw a lid on the jar, and holding the over the sink (in case of leaks) invert the jar and give it a good shake, in order to distribute all the delicious bits.

Let your pickles sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.

These were so easy to make, and really tasty. They sat in the fridge over night and were gone by the end of the following day. I brought them out to share with some company and they were eaten up immediately. Will definitely make again, and again and again.

I wanted to try a different type of pickle, since Asian-inspired isn’t really typical. I looked in my Eating Well In Season cookbook for a quick and easy pickle that is sort of in the bread-and-butter category, but still garlicky and dilly.

Quick Pickles
From Eating Well In Season

1 and 1/4 pounds pickling cucumbers, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used about 10 pickles and sliced them into 4ths)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup slivered onion
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Place cucumber slices in a colander set ni the sink. Sprinkle with salt; stir to comine. Let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, drain, and transfer to a large heat-proof bowl.

Meanwhile, combine cider vinegar, white vinegar, brown sugar, onion, garlic, dill and mustard seed in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers; stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to bring to room temperature.

I let the pickles sit overnight before eating, just as I did with the Asian-inspired recipe. These taste just like real bread and butter pickles, and have a little bit of the bitter dill component as well. These were also a big hit with our friends, but since I used more cucumbers this time, there are still some remaining bites left for week-day snacking or as a side with lunch or dinner. These are great and easy to make- also worth researching the canning process, because they would make great gifts during winter-time.

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