Exploring Hope

Exploring Hope
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Life often takes unexpected turns. Sometimes those turns are for the better, and sometimes they’re for the worse. When it's the latter and your best friend asks what she can do to help, you beg for her to come and pay you a visit for the weekend.  Good friends and fun-filled days are often just what is needed to get you through the rough patches. So, when my dear friend recently visited for the weekend to bring some cheer and she requested a trip to the Farmer’s Market, I was more than happy to oblige.


Let’s review: Friends = good for the soul. Pickles = good for the tummy.

The bounty of the day was a beautiful afternoon spent with the best of the company, and because I’m never one to neglect my taste buds, these homemade pickles made with some beautiful fresh pickling cucumbers were prepared as soon as we returned home. Intimidated by pickling? Don’t be. There are many different ways to pickle with varying results, but quick pickling is easy and can result in a really tasty finished product without all the fuss. For these sweet and spicy refrigerator pickles, that’s just the method I used. It’s an easy recipe that I think it simply the best!

Exploring Hope

So, what are the different types of pickles?

For the most part, pickles can be divided into three categories: Dill, Sour, and Sweet. And if you ask just about anyone, you’re sure to hear that not all pickles are created equal. Throughout my culinary journey I’ve found pickles to be one of the more divisive foods. And while I can’t promise that this recipe will win over the most ardent of pickle haters, I can guarantee that they are sure to please just about everyone else as they’re the loveliest combo of sweet, spicy, and tangy, making them ideal for topping burgers, hot dogs, in tuna, on a cheese board, or just crunching solo.

Exploring Hope

How long before you can eat these pickles?

Great question! Many people think of pickling as a really tedious and involved process (and it certainly can be), but these are quick pickles. After just 24 hours in their brine, they’re ready to be enjoyed. Can I get an amen?

Are pickles good for your health? 

They certainly can be. The longer the pickle is allowed to ferment, the more “good bacteria” can grow, which is incredibly helpful for gut health. Not to mention, cucumbers in some vingary brine is about as innocent a snack as there is...so crunch away!

Let’s review: Friends = good for the soul. Pickles = good for the tummy.

For more really simple and tasty farm-forward recipes, be sure to check out these previous posts for inspiration: Backyard quiche, Blackberry Chèvre SaladPeach, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad.

Slightly Sweet & Spicy 24 Hour Pickles

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs pickling cucmbers, washed, cut into ¼ inch-thick rounds
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp peppercorns (I used a mixed variety)
2 Serrano peppers, sliced into 4 long pieces
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1-2 tbsp kosher slat
2 tsp dried dill
1 quart size Mason jar with lid (or other heat roof containers with tight fitting lid)

Method

  1. Divide sliced onion between mason jars. Pack cucumbers horizontally in jars. Slide serrano peppers alongside cucumbers, taking care not to handle the seeds to much! Top each jar with 1 teaspoon dill.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or resealable plastic bag and mallet, crush the seeds and peppercorns together.
  3. Place the crushed spices in a saucepan along with vinegar, water, sugar and salt.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. When sugar dissolves, ladle mixture evenly over cucumbers.Taking care to evenly disperse the seeds and peppercorns among each jar. Make sure all your cucumbers are covered in liquid. Leave uncovered of the counter for 30 mins. After the brine has had a chance to cool, cover the jars with tight fitting lids, and place in the refrigerator for 21 hours. The pickles will be nice and crunchy and will keep covered in refrigerator for 1 week.