In a Pickle

Cool, crunchy pickles are easy to make at home! Did you know you can prepare a batch of tasty pickled cucumbers in under 30 minutes? Really!

Kirbies or Persian cucumbers are best for pickling, but you can also pickle green beans, cauliflower, beets and carrots. With just a few basic ingredients and some glass jars, you are on your way to enjoying homemade pickles. Be sure to choose vegetables that are ripe but firm, with no blemishes or wrinkles. Wash all vegetables well as they will not be peeled.

You can customize your pickles to suit your taste — sweet, spicy or mild. Experiment with different combinations of vegetables and spices to find the combination that your family will love.

Homemade pickles can be boiled and canned for long term storage, but boiling them will take away from the crunchy texture. Alternately, they can be kept in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but we doubt they will hang around that long!

These quick pickles are ready to eat in just 2 hours, but wait a day for maximum flavor.

Homemade Sour Pickles

1 1/2 pounds Persian cucumbers

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2 teaspoons dill seed

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

1 cup whiter vinegar

1 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

You will need:

  • A sharp knife and cutting board
    • 2 wide-mouth pint jars with lids

Wash the jars and lids well.

Wash and dry the cucumbers. Trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, which contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. Leave the pickles whole, cut them into spears, or slice them into coins, as preferred.

Add the spices to the jars, dividing the garlic, dill seed, and red pepper flakes (if using) between the 2 jars.

Pack the pickles into the jars. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing the cucumbers.

Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to within 1/2-inch of the top. You might not use all the brine.

Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Add more pickling brine if necessary. Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.

Store the pickles in the fridge. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before opening and enjoying.

Pickled Cauliflower Florets

3 cups white vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

2 to 4 small dried red chilies (optional)

1 1/2 cups fresh dill fronds (about 1 bunch)

16 ounces fresh checked cauliflower, cut into small florets

You will need:

  • 2 wide-mouth pint jars with lids

Wash jars and lids well.

In a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed and red chilies if using. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Divide cauliflower and dill fronds between the two jars.

Pour hot brine into jar to completely cover vegetables and seal jar, being sure to leave 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. Tap jars lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours (or up to 1 week).

Homemade Pickled Tomatoes

3/4 cup white vinegar

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

1 pound green tomatoes

3 teaspoons dill seed

You will need:

  • 3 wide-mouth half- pint jars with lids

Wash jars and lids well.

In a small saucepan combine vinegar, water, sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. In a large saucepan cook tomatoes and the 1 tablespoon salt, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain well; transfer to three hot, clean half-pint jars. In each jar, place 1 teaspoon of the dill seed. Pour hot pickling liquid over tomatoes, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 weeks.

You may need to ask your local fruit market to bring in green tomatoes for you, as they are more popular down south than in the northern states, but the crunch is worth it!

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.