Pickles, for me, are the second most delicious snack in the world compared to olives. Maybe its the salty spicy flavor punch, the crisp bite, or the fact that you can eat an entire jar (juice and all) and still remain under 200 calories. You can safely say that there is a lot more to be said about the almighty juicy pickle than for it to be a just sidekick to a sandwich or burger.
Brief pickle history:
Pickles are one of the oldest foods in the world, dating back 4,000 years. References toward the pickle are made in The Holy Bible and in the works of Shakespeare. It is mentioned that Cleopatra attributed her attractiveness to a hearty diet of pickles. Pickles were the lifeblood for explorers on their long voyages out to sea, and used for the prevention of scurvy. Pickling was a method of food preservation, which was crucial during times of war. Pickles were on the list of rationed foods.
New York City also reminds me of pickles, its a classic NYC food. In the 19th and early 20th century, pickle pushcarts were very popular, particularly on the lower east side of Manhattan. “Pickles for a penny.” Nowadays you can find stores strictly dedicated to pickles and other pickled items. They offer tastings and provide you with interesting pickle facts. Famous NYC locations like “The Pickle Guys” and “Guss’ Pickles” are two hotspots you should visit.
The idea of pickling never occurred to me until my buddy Lori inspired me the other day with her batch of spicy pickled ginger chips and crispy cucumbers. They were delicious and I was thrilled after I realized how simple and inexpensive the pickling process is. There are various pickling methods, but the one I chose was the refrigerated pickle. I quickly followed suit with my own version. (see photo above)
For detailed pickling methods, check this site: http://pickle-recipes.itsallgud.com/technique.htm
First, what you need to do is boil the jar you’re going to use for the pickles. This kills all the microorganisms that linger even after a good wash. You can use a mason jar, or just re-use an old pickle or tomato sauce jar, like I did. (It’s the perfect size)
In the meantime, I prepared my spice brine
- 5 cloves of fresh finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp of coriander
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup of purified water
- 1 cup of white vinegar (any flavor would suffice)
- 1 handful of chopped fresh dill
- 1 – 2 tbsp kosher salt
(Pickling time: Allow 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator before consumption.)
Then cut about 5 un-waxed medium cucumbers. (leave the skin on, makes a crunchier pickle) You can either cut them into slices, spears or leave them whole. (Whole pickles require more marination time)