Summer is here at last and the fresh produce is starting to come in from my garden. I’m still waiting on that perfect first homegrown tomato, but I have plenty of cucumbers to keep me occupied until then. I love to make pickles with the cucumbers we grow and I’ve often joked that I have canned enough pickles to survive the apocalypse. Last summer, however, I didn’t get to can anything so my pickle supply is starting to get depleted.
My favorite type of pickle is a grape leaf pickle. Me and my Great-Uncle Ken are the only ones who like them though. We actually don’t complain about that since it means more for us! My husband calls them salt lick pickles because they are very salty.
I haven’t had the chance to make grape leaf pickles yet, but I have made a couple of batches of a quick pickle. These are very easy and great to make when the cucumbers are just starting to come in and you don’t yet have enough to make a whole batch of canned pickles.
Speaking of salty, a funny story about the quick pickle recipe I use. The first time I ever made them I misread the recipe and instead of using three to five teaspoons of salt, I used tablespoons! Talk about salty! I definitely overdid it that time.
The great thing about this recipe is it is very fast to make and you can also add different things to your own taste. I just made a jar with an added cayenne pepper and a garlic clove to give them a little extra kick. If you have fresh dill it works great in this recipe or you can use a teaspoon or so of dill seed.
Another secret to these pickles is to slice them very thin. If you use a mandolin you’ll likely get even better results. They are great on sandwiches. They will be ready in just a few hours and get better after 24 hours. As these are not canned and sealed, they won’t last as long but I usually eat them up within a week or so.
Kitsey’s Quick Pickles
6 to 10 small- or medium-sized cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 to 5 teaspoons of kosher or canning salt
2 teaspoons dill weed (or more to taste or if using fresh dill.)
Additional seasonings to taste. ( I add a few grinds of cracked black pepper and have also used a garlic clove and fresh cayenne pepper.)
Add sliced cucumbers to a quart mason jar. Add salt, dill and other seasonings if desired. Pour in vinegar. Put a lid on the jar and shake well. Store in refrigerator. Shake occasionally in the first few hours to continue to mix brine. It will look at first like not enough liquid but it will increase as the salt pulls the moisture from the cucumber. Enjoy as a side or on sandwiches.
Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple. Here she shares her musings on food, live, love and being a new mom. She can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.