Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spicy Quick Pickles

I am a huge fan of pickled goods. Whether green beans or beets, okra or cauliflower, I love the briny bite and sweet and salty mixture. The king of all pickles is of course the cucumber. The perfect sandwich accompaniment or topping. A nice briny flavor to cut into the saltiness of chips and the flavors in any type of sandwich (other than maybe a PB&J). I've made pickles a couple times before, but I was preparing some sides for a pulled pork sandwich, and I wanted to make a quick cucumber pickle with some spice as a side/topping for the pulled pork. The difference between a quick pickle and a fermented pickle is the canning and resting process. For a quick pickle, you make the brine, pour the hot brine over the cukes and then let them sit for a couple hours. Voila! Pickle! For a fermented pickle, you make the brine, let it cool, pour it over the cukes in a jar and seal it. The pickles then rest for 4 to 6 weeks until they've fermented. These take a lot more time and work. For more info on pickling, check out this site. The pickles I made were spicy and delicious. I did a classic pickle brine and added a habanero pepper for some heat. They had a great balance of vinegar sugar and salt, and the habanero made them stand out when eaten with the pulled pork. This recipe is very easy, and very successful, so if you want to dive into the pickle game, I would start here.

4 kirby cucumbers, whole or sliced depending on how you want your pickle
1 cup white distilled vinegar
3 teaspoons white granulated sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 habanero pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 cup chopped dill

To Cook:
  1. Mix the vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard seed, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a saucepan and bring to a boil for 4 minutes
  2. Add the habanero, garlic, and dill and boil for another minute or two
  3. Remove from the heat and pour over the cucumbers in a non-reactive bowl (glass will do)
  4. Let sit for 1-3 hours before refridgerating
  5. Store in a glass jar, will last for 1-2 weeks

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