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It’s summer time and my thoughts turn to pickles. I’m a pickle fiend, right next to my olive obsession. I’ve learned how to make successful pickles. Not fermented pickles, I don’t have a cold, cool place for that happen, but I do make refrigerator pickles.

"B&B" PicklesI adapted a recipe from Alton Brown‘s Good Eats show. I used a locally grown English Cucumber, red onions, and garlic. I would have used locally produced apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t pick some up. I used a 60/40 mixture of sucralose and sugar, to make it diabetic friendly, but you could use just sugar if you like. So let’s start:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups sucralose and 3/4 cup sugar or 2 cups sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice

Thinly slicing vegetables is an art. That’s why they made the mandolin. I use a cheap plastic one I got at from my dad’s girlfriend. It’s made of white plastic, it’s got notches to hook it over a bowl, three depth settings, a julienne insert, and two sided grater. And it works like a charm. I’ve sliced my thumbs and fingers on that sharp blade more than once. A mandolin is easier to clean than a food processor and you can slice on the bias, which is what I did with the cucumber, to get longer slices. I still tear slicing onions on the mandolin. 

After you slice  them up, combine the onion and cucumber slices, along with the garlic cloves, in a clean spring-top jar. Don’t use a plastic one. Glass is totally non-reactive and is easier to clean than plastic. Make sure the garlic cloves are in the middle of the slices. This will make sure that they get thoroughly pickled.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. After it boils, simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices.

Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the garlic cloves and the onion and cucumber slices, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.

You can eat these in two to three days. Yum!

This is a sustainable recipe because except for the salt, spices and sugar, you can source all the other ingredients locally. You can adapt this recipe by pickling peppers with the cukes or just pickle peppers. This is the first of several picklings I’m going to do this year, and I’ll be sourcing apple cider vinegar from a local cider press to be more sustainable. When pickling cucumbers come into season, I’ll be getting my pickle jars ready to go.

And this is both fun and empowering. You’re not tied to the grocery store for all your condiment needs. You can do it your self, just like we used to do a 100 years ago. Next on my self-made list: Ketchup!

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