When we decided to skip the garden entirely this year, we knew we would need to acquire veggies from other farms to preserve for ourselves. Last weekend, we picked up a basket of pickling cucumbers from our friends at Willow Garden. We have been buy vegetables from Jason and Seraina since before we bought the farm. They are certified organic growers, and grow a great variety of veggies for the market. We also got some Walla Walla onions from them, and those are the other major component of this recipe.
I don’t make pickles often, but I do really enjoy having a mandolin slicer when I do. This model specifically is really easy to use and clean. It cuts two different thicknesses, and has the option for a julienne cut. We have made our own french fries with this, and it does a great job at decreasing the workload involved.
One note: When using salt in fermenting, pickling and canning, even if it’s just a fridge pickle, it’s important to use un-iodized salt. We love this sea salt. It has a really crisp taste, and won’t mess with the pickling or fermenting process.
Now, onto the recipe!
- 4 or 5 pickling cucumbers (I usually slice extra, and snack on them)
- 2 Tbsp pickling salt
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 peppercorns
- 2 tsp mustard seed
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 or 2 walla walla onions
To get started, rinse your cucumbers. Then, slice them on the thicker setting of the mandolin into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and toss for 20-30 seconds. Stick the bowl in the fridge for an hour or so to allow the salt to draw some of the moisture out of the cucumbers.
While your cukes sweat, start on the brine. In a pot over medium heat, add the vinegars, sugars, crushed garlic, cloves, peppercorns, mustard seed, and celery seed. Allow to heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Remove cucumbers from fridge and drain. I also rinse them to remove most of the salt. Cut the onions in half, and slice on the thin setting of the mandolin. Add to bowl of cucumbers and toss. Add cucumbers and onions to a clean quart jar. Pack them in there pretty firmly, but without totally smashing the slices. Top with prepared brine. You will have to tip the jar in different directions to get the air bubbles out. I usually put a sealing lid on the jar, and shake it around for a couple seconds. Keep filling the jar until it’s totally full. Stick the jar in the fridge and let it sit for 24 hours minimum. Taste the next day, and enjoy!
This recipe is NOT meant for water bath or pressure canning. It will last in the fridge up to 6 weeks. Feel free to modify the ratios of white to brown sugar, or white vinegar to apple cider vinegar. Add more spices if you like a little more flavor. Add a half teaspoon of turmeric for more flavor and color. Add some red pepper flakes if you want a sweet and spicy pickle. There are many ways to change this up, and with a small batch like this, it’s easy to make a bunch of varieties and see what you like best! Enjoy!
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