I love pickles. I’m always asking if I can have someone else’s potentially unwanted lunch sidekick as soon as I spot it. But recently, upon reading the ingredient list on a popular brand’s (that shall remain unnamed) jar of pickles at the grocery store, I was a little bummed out. Yellow dye number something in a jar of pickles? Funky sounding ingredients as preservatives or stabilizers? No thanks, I’ll pass.
A few days later I was at my local farmer’s market buying some heirloom tomatoes from my favorite organic stand, and came across some pickling cucumbers. So I decided to try my hand at making my own pickles. It’s so easy, and they are so much better than store bought! I’ll probably be making them as long as my farmer’s market has pickling cucumbers available… They certainly won’t last the six months they keep for at the rate Mark is downing them.
Pickles even pack a few surprising health benefits. Cucumbers are a good source of fiber, and contain important nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants. The vinegar used in the pickling process can help to strengthen your immune system, and is also high in acetic acid. Which like other acids, can help your body to more readily absorb nutrients and minerals from the other foods you are eating. More pickles please!
Makes a little over 1 large mason jar (1 large and 1 small, or 2 medium)
2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
1/3 cup kosher salt (I used Maldon, because I didn’t have kosher on hand
5 pickling cucumbers
1 bunch of dill
2 tbsp of whole black peppercorns
Start by measuring out and adding the water, vinegar, and kosher salt to a small saucepan. Set stove to medium high, and heat until salt is fully dissolved in the brine. Turn off stove, and allow to cool fully.
Roughly chop dill, setting aside a few long sprigs to place in the jar(s).
Wash and slice cucumbers lengthwise into quarters. Toss in a dish with the chopped dill and peppercorns. Place cucumbers in the jar(s). Make sure to divide the chopped dill and peppercorns between the jars, if you are using more than one.
Pour cooled brine into the jar(s), making sure that the cucumbers are fully covered. Tighten lids, and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Pickles will keep for up to 6 months. Enjoy!