I like a pickle that is crisp, garlicky, and tangy, or one that has a bite. The great thing about pickles, is there are so many different kinds, and they are all really easy to make. While kirby cucumbers (these are the little guys that are perfect for pickling) are in peak season at the farmer’s market, buy a few (they are SO cheap) and experiment in your kitchen. With “gourmet” pickles costing about $10 a jar, canning your own is worth the investment of a few ball jars, cucumbers, vinegar, salt, and any herbs or spices you might want to add. They are also great to bring to barbeques and dinner parties, after all, what is a good summertime burger without a delicious pickle! You won’t believe how easy they are to make, and guests will be really impressed, and of course you’ll never go back to store-bought again. Use some of the brine in bloody marys, especially delicious if your pickles are spicy!
*Use pickling salt (Morton’s sells it in a big green box) for pickles that will stay greener, regular or kosher salt will also work, and taste fine, your pickles just won’t stay as bright because of additives.
For the basic brine:
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons pickling salt
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 tablespoon black peppercorn
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
Bring all ingredients to a boil, and pour over pickles into heatproof containers (if canning, make sure jars and lids are sterilized). Refrigerate, and store for a few months, not that they will last that long!
For Garlic/Dill Pickles:
add 4 cloves garlic
and either 1 head of fresh dill per jar, or 1 tablespoon dill seed
For Spicy Pickles:
Add one whole hot pepper of your choice, poked all over with a fork, to each jar.
For a Sweet Pickle:
Add 2 tablespoons, or more, of sugar to the brine, and leave out the other spices.