I’ve been on a weird hype where I have a desire to make things that are easily purchased at a mainstream grocery store. I know that includes basically everything, but I’m talking things a bit out of the ordinary. A couple weeks ago I was craving wonton soup and had a package of ground pork in my fridge, so naturally, I wanted to make the wontons from scratch. Normally this post would be about the wonton soup, but silly me, I was so enthralled with the soup that I couldn’t be bothered to pause and take a picture of it. AKA, I forgot. I saved some of the filling so I plan on making the soup again and promise to report back on the final product.
Today, we’re focusing on homemade pickles. I love pickles. That’s a slight understatement. I am OBSESSED with pickles. I’m the lady that always asks for extra pickles on a burger and alongside any sandwich. In grade school, before my manners were fully-developed, I’d be the one to stare down everyone’s plate who wouldn’t eat their pickles and eventually ask, are you going to eat that? I couldn’t bear to see a pickle go to waste. I’d be lying, however, if I said there wasn’t a pickle I met that I didn’t like. Three words: bread and butter. I don’t want to get into politics of pickles, but people, I just can’t. In my opinion, and you’ll learn that I have lots of those, a pickle is supposed to have zest, tang, vibrancy, crunch, along with savory and bold tones. Again, that’s simply my opinion. There are CLEARLY many others who think otherwise, and that’s perfectly alright! I’m not right, it’s just my preference.
People usually make their own pickles when they’ve grown too many cucumbers in their garden and are looking to use them up. That implies that it is a summer activity. I decided to go out in the dead of winter with my two children and purchase cucumbers along with fresh dill to make cucumbers simply because I was curious. I literally walked past the Claussen’s kosher dill pickles, on sale mind you, and refrained from purchasing because I already had my mind made up that I would make my own pickles.
Final thoughts— it’s totally worth it to buy name-brand pickles off sale to avoid making your own. It’s not a difficult task, it’s just time-consuming, and by the time I finished, I could’ve already consumed half-a-jar of the store-bought pickles. My daughter LOVES pickles and she was my official taste tester. Her words verbatim— it’s spicy. I know why she thought that, and it’s because I used a fair share of garlic. The recipe I followed called for AN ENTIRE HEAD OF GARLIC (smashed). I didn’t even use the amount the recipe called for and yet it was still spicy. I quite frankly like them, but I would probably use a couple cloves less of garlic and only cut them in half as opposed to smashing them. That change apparent in my recipe below. Tip: avoid using cucumbers with larger seeds. This prevents the cucumber from getting soggy and lose its crunch. English, Kirby, or Persian are all good options.
2 large English Cucumbers
1.5 cups distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 cups cold water
2 tbsp dried mustard seeds
5 cloves garlic, lightly pressed or cut in half
1 large bunch of fresh dill, sprigs only
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
In a stainless steel saucepan, heat the vinegar, salt, and sugar over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Pour into a bowl with cold water and set aside in the fridge until it’s room temperature or even colder. Place cucumber spears or slices in mason jars but be sure to not over-stuff so that the herbs and spices can be evenly dispersed. Place all the remaining ingredients except for the brine on top of the cucumbers. Pour the brine and tightly close the jars. Give them a good shake. Place in the fridge and enjoy within two hours!