The yellow and green streaked pickling cucumbers have been sitting in my hydrator since Saturday morning, whisked away from the market and tucked into the refrigerator for safe keeping.
With each morning trip to the kitchen weighed down by the moist, oppressive heat of the sky, it has been hard to do little more than stare at the short, stinted vegetables.
There were other excuses, too; no dill, vinegar almost at jar's bottom, a shortage of mustard seed and cardamom.
This afternoon, facing the prospect of wilted cucumbers and a vine's harvest wasted, I finally headed into town. Bag in tow, I combed the shelves of the Marketplace for needed ingredients. Back home, I paged through book upon book until I found what I was searching for: a recipe for refrigerator pickles, no flame needed, that would sit crisp and cool for snacking on the shelves by week's end without a canning pot in sight.
With a garlic dill version in hand, I traded spices and vinegars here and there until it was pared down to my taste. I reached into the drawer and began readying the tiny green lengths. Off went the tops and tails, leaving the pale, exposed flesh to soak up the sting of a cider vinegar brine. A large clove of garlic, several sprigs of dill, a sprinkling of pickling spices, and a good dose of smoked salt later, the cucumbers dove in for a two day brine—the last of their adventures before a good long sit in the fridge.
Makes 4 pints
Run four pint jars and lids through the dishwasher on high heat. Make a brine from 2 quarts water, 1/4-1/2 cup pickling salt , and 2 cups cider vinegar. Clean cucumbers and trim tops and tails. Pack jars with cucumbers and fresh dill and garlic (peeled) to taste, adding pickling spices as desired. Fill packed jars with brine; leave at room temperature for 3 days, then refrigerate for snacking. Pickles should last several months in refrigerator.