Pickling has been around for centuries as a means to preserve perishable foods for consumption when out of season. In the Riviera, the French are most known for their “cornichons” or baby dill gerkins. The tradition continued in the U.S. with a sweeter version called bread and butter pickles, named as such because they were as regular a part of a diet as bread and butter during the Great Depression.
Anticipating a high volume crop from our cucumber plants, we set out early this summer to create the perfect recipe for our summer “pickles”. These are great as a snack and make a perfect accompaniment to a tasty summer cocktail for the evening aperitif. We also like them on our burgers and in salads too.
The best part about a “quick pickle” is that it doesn’t have to sit for weeks or months to attain great flavor. Pouring the hot liquid directly into the jar and sealing it speeds up the infusion process, giving a great pickled taste within hours – though they’re best after a day or two in the fridge.
The most important thing is to use the freshest vegetables possible – we did this batch with cucumbers, carrots, turnips and some green tomatoes that weren’t quite ripe yet from the garden, but really most any vegetables will work.
To change it up a bit, replace the fennel and basil with cumin and cilantro.
1 cup apple cider vineger
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
4-6 6 cups vegetable, cut into rounds or spears
1 cup basil
1 cup red onions, sliced
Peel of 1 orange
Place the vegetables in dry, clean mason jars. Add the onion and herb being sure to have equal amounts in each jar and pushing down around the vegetable.
In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the first 6 ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and pour over the vegetable slices.
Allow to cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator. They will start tasting like pickles in a couple of hours and can be stored for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.