This summer, I am fortunate enough to have been the regular recipient of garden goods from my friend’s, mother’s, Polish garden. Or, my Polish friend’s, mother’s garden. Or, my Polish friend’s, Polish mother’s, Polish garden. At any rate, cucumbers are an integral part of Polish cuisine, from cucumber salad (mizeria), to sour cucumber soup (ogórkowa), and of course pickled cucumbers. Now, I can find many-a-way to use a cucumber believe me, however the harvest was so large, I found I needed a way to preserve these delicious, crunchy pieces of heaven. I am usually not one for canning or pickling, but at the suggestion of my friend, and a few hints about her mother’s pickling tactics, I was persuaded. Most of the harvest was in fact comprised of pickling cucumbers, and are in fact called pickles before they are pickled.
These came out crunchy and amazing, with a tiny bit of heat at the very end of your crunchy, chewing experience, and I feel still honors the cucumber. I am currently eating them with a fork out of the jar, but I imagine that sandwiches and burgers would feel blessed to be paired with these guys.
Spicy dill and garlic pickles…
4-8 pickling cucumbers, washed, scrubbed, and cut into coins
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbs kosher salt
2 tsp organic cane sugar
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
1 stem fresh dill, washed/or 2-3 tsp dried dill
2-3 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp whole peppercorns
First wash/sterilize your jar. Wash your cucumbers and dill well. To make the brine, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Mix together and let stand until fully dissolved. You are not going to want to use table salt, the preservatives turn your pickles yellow. You can use kosher salt or special pickling salt. Add cucumbers, dill, garlic, and red pepper flakes into your jar. Fill to the brim. Pour in brine and close lid tightly. No need to boil and seal, unless you are planning on keeping these for months. The brine is bacteriostatic, and they will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator…although I guarantee they will not last that long. Let them stand for at least 3-5 days to absorb flavor. I found they tasted best at about 1 week out.
Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!