Mary Anne here. ‘Tis the season for Kirby cucumbers! Besides adding a crisp, clean crunch to green salads, veggie sandwiches, and summer crudités, they’re the perfect produce for pickling. Effortless to prep, these sweet-tangy treats make a deliciously unexpected hostess gift – just pour the pickled cukes, along with their cooking juices, into a pretty Mason-type jar and cover the lid with a swatch of fabric. How Martha of me, I know. While I didn’t go the Full Monty and bottle these babies in sterile jars, they do keep in the fridge for 2 weeks stored in a sealed plastic container. This way, they’re ready and waiting to top your burgers, sliders and pulled chicken sammies. Happy snacking!
Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles
Makes 3 quarts
Note: You’ll need cheesecloth to make a “bouquet garni”. Simply cut a square large enough to accommodate the pickling spices and mustard seed. Place the spices and seeds in the middle of the square, and gathering up the sides, tie with a piece of butcher’s twine. The packet will resemble a sachet. After the pickles cool to room temperature, I leave the bouquet garni in the batch and store the lot in a large bowl, covered in plastic wrap, overnight.
2 lbs Kirby or pickling cucumbers, washed and cut into ¼-inch rounds – $4.98
1 medium-large sweet onion, i.e. Vidalia, halved length-wise and then cut cross-wise into ¼’ slices – $1.42
2 cups cider vinegar – stock
1 cup maple syrup or sugar – stock
2 Tablespoons pickling spice – $0.22
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds – $0.09
½ Teaspoon Turmeric – stock
¼ Teaspoon red pepper flakes – stock
1 ½ Tablespoons Kosher salt – stock
¾ cup water
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $6.71
Total Per Quart: $2.24
1. Using a 3-quart saucepan, combine the vinegar, maple syrup (or sugar), water, bouquet garni, Kosher salt, Turmeric, and red pepper flakes.
2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, slice the cucumbers and onion as directed above and transfer to a bowl large enough to accommodate the produce as well as the prepared pickling juice.
4. Pour the hot pickling juice along with the bouquet/sachet garni over the sliced cucumbers and onion. Cover the pickles with a small plate to keep them submerged.
5. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.