My husband grew up in a family that pickled all kinds of vegetables and even some fruit. Not me. Growing up, we only ate one kind pickle - barrel (sour) pickles from our local deli. Little did I know all of the variations that are out there.
Even though the pickling possibilities are endless, I admit I still like garlicky cucumber barrel pickles the best. Unfortunately, even when I find barrel pickles, I can never find the taste like the ones I had growing up. So now, I have decided to make my own.
One thing about making it myself is I can adjust the flavor until I get it to exactly where I want it to be. I prefer garlicky and don't like lots of dill. Some people like to add sugar to their pickle recipes, but I prefer them without - plus, it is a healthier option.
I have decided to make these using sliced cucumbers, as slicing the cucumbers speeds up the pickling process. I also added in carrots, jalapenos, and whole cloves of garlic, which will also be pickled and can be eaten or added to other dishes. I started this batch in the morning, and by night they were ready.
Here is the recipe. It takes very little time to prepare.
8-10 mini cucumbers (About 6-7" long) - sliced
10 baby carrots
1 whole head of garlic - peeled
2 large scallions - chopped (the white and the green parts)
2 jalapenos (optional) - sliced lengthwise and seeds removed (optional)
Dill - to taste
3 cups of vinegar
2 cups of water
2 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup pickling spices
1-3 Glass containers with lids
You can purchase pickling spices already mixed in most markets.
White distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar - they are all good. The flavor may vary slightly, depending on the vinegar you choose.
Be very careful working with jalapenos. I know many people who have gotten burned by these little peppers. I always wear gloves and avoid touching the seeds to be sure.
The amount of containers needed depends on their size. I ended up using 1 large container and kept adding vegetables until it was full. The important thing is that the vegetables are packed in tightly.
Prepare the brine - Mix all the brine ingredients in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Let it cool.
Place all vegetables into a large glass container with a lid. Depending on the size of the container, you may need 2 or more. The vegetables should fit snuggly in the container.
Pour the cooled brine slowly over the vegetables. The pickling spices will pour out last and sit on top. Eventually, they will start to move further down the container. Since I have little patience, I used a spoon to disperse them.
Let the container rest on the counter for an hour before placing it in the refrigerator.
These are ready to eat in a few hours and will be even better tomorrow.