Just past the corner from my old New York City apartment, sat a small shop simply called Pickles & Olives. Whenever my parents came to stay with me, my Dad would religiously visit the shop, chat up the owner, and return with armfuls of fermented goods and fresh-made hummus; my favorite were always the half-sour pickles. A few weeks ago, I made a batch of my own at home and have become somewhat of a pickling monster in the days since. I love the traditional variety (recipe below) but I’ve also added several twists with bread-and-butter slices, apple cider vinegar, basil, and hot pepper flakes. They’re all delicious. Around here we’ve been eating them by the jarful and adding them to cocktails too (Try them in a Vodka Martini!).
- 3.5 Cups Filtered Water
- ½ Cup Distilled White Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic per Jar, Thinly Sliced
- 1 Stem Fresh Dill
- 10-12 Whole Black Peppercorns per Jar
- 1 Small Bay Leaf per Jar (Optional)
- Hot Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- 3-4 Pickling (Kirby, Mini, etc.) Cucumbers per Jar
- Bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil over high heat, allowing the salt to dissolve into the brine. Set aside and allow to cool completely (This is an extremely important step as a warm brine will create mushy pickles!).
- Fill your jars with the garlic, dill, peppercorns, and any additional herbs and spices. Place the sliced cucumbers on top, packing them in tightly (I halved my cucumbers for this post so I could only fit 4-5 in per jar, however, you can fit 8-10 quartered spears or loads and loads of slices!). Pour in the cooled brine.
- Lightly cover the jars with a napkin or a dishcloth and allow to sit at room temperature, overnight.
- Remove the napkin and seal your jars. Store in the refrigerator. Depending upon how tart you like them, the pickles can be eaten after an additional 1-3 days, as they will continue to sour. Once opened, they're best consumed within a week.
I prefer my pickles to be less tart, more salty, but if you like it the other way around, you can easily increase the vinegar added proportionally to the water. The idea is to have 4 cups of liquid total.