Just like jam-making, pickling doesn’t have to be a long process, and need not produce enough pickles to last a year. You can do up small cukes or other veg (think asparagus, beans, ramps) quickly, in the fridge, producing crisp, snappy pickles infused with any number of flavours – try adding star anise, coriander seed, a small chili pepper, or a sprig of rosemary.
1/2 cup (or 125 ml) white, rice or cider vinegar
1/4 (or 60 ml) cup sugar, white or brown
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp (or 5 ml) mustard seed
1 tsp (or 5 ml) coarse salt
pinch red pepper flakes
4 small Kirby cucumbers, sliced diagonally (or about 2 cups sliced cucumbers)
1/4 cup (or 60 ml) slivered purple onion (optional)
1 tbsp (or 15 ml) chopped fresh dill (optional)
1. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, garlic, mustard seed, salt and red pepper flakes; bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then put the cucumbers, purple onion and dill in a bowl and pour the hot brine overtop.
2. Cool completely, then refrigerate until well chilled. Serve immediately, or let sit for an hour or a day to allow the flavours to combine. Store in the fridge for up to a month.
3. To preserve in jars, pack hot pickles into hot 500 ml snap-lid jars to within ¾-inch of rim. Add hot liquid to cover pickles to within ½-inch of the top of the jar. Seal and process according to the directions in the sidebar at right.
Makes about 2 cups.
Per 1/4 cup:
15 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g protein, 0.4 g fibre