Pickles are a food I crave at least once a day. Especially after a long run (when I need to replenish salt and sugars), my body is begging for a few cornichons, a large full sour pickle or a plate of pickled beets. Oddly enough, I’ve never ventured into making my own pickles. Until now!
What I’ve found so far is that making pickles is easy and cheap. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that you use unwaxed cucumbers and organic veggies. You also want to make sure to use glass jars–and that you have enough room in your fridge.
What I like about this process so far is that you can flavor your veg with whatever spices and herbs you’d like. I’m a purist when it comes to cucumber pickles (just salt, water and garlic) but I’m pretty open when it comes to flavoring carrots, string beans, radishes, green tomatoes, beets, and anything else. I’ve even added organic lemon peel to some of my pickled radishes and they are absolutely delicious.
Below are the first few recipes I’ve been tinkering with. The carrots are inspired by Jessica Koslow’s pickled carrots, which she slices really thin on a mandolin and layers on top of her famed avocado toast. I like them–but find that the recipe is sweeter than necessary, especially since carrots are naturally sweet.
The full sour recipe is so simple and straightforward, adapted for The New York Times recipe. I skipped the ice and just added cold water as I had enough time to let my pickling liquid cool in the freezer (make sure it’s really cold so your cucumbers don’t get soggy).
The radishes are a combination of both pickling liquids and turned out a little salty, a little sweet and a little peppery (from the natural peppery-ness but also due to the added black peppercorns). They’re my favorite of the bunch. Well, that’s not entirely true. The full sour pickles take longer to ferment, so they’re still on my kitchen counter and won’t be ready for a few more days.
This was a fun first foray, and I’d like to only make my own pickles from here on out!
All pickles will last in the fridge for around a month.
4-6 large organic carrots, sliced as thinly as possible with a knife (or you can slice with a peeler if you want them really thin. I like a thicker crunch)
2 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
4-5 sprigs of organic cilantro
1 tsp coriander seeds
6 cardamom pods
1 green Thai chili, lightly smashed or cut in half
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 1/4 cups of white distilled vinegar
1 cup of water
Peel carrots. Cut in half lengthwise and in half again. Slice the carrots as thinly as possible with knife, or with a peeler.
Add sugar, salt, chili and spices to a non-reactive pot. Add vinegar and water. Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved. Then turn off the heat.
Add garlic, cilantro, chili to the bottom of a quart sized jar. Stuff in all of the carrots until snug. Most should fit.
Add the pickling liquid and let the carrots sit overnight, lightly covered (I place the lid on but don’t tighten it). If the carrots are pickled to your liking the next day, screw the cap on and place in the fridge. If not, leave them out for another day or until pickled to your liking.
Full Sour Pickles
6 unwaxed, organic kirby cucumbers, cut in half long ways
3 cloves of peeled garlic, lightly smashed
2 cups of boiling water
2 tbsp of course salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 cup of cold water
Soak whole cucumbers in cold water for 30 minutes to make sure any sand sinks to the bottom of a bowl. Once clean, slice in half lengthwise.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and stir. Add cold cup of water.
Add garlic to the bottom of a quart sized jar. Place cucumbers in jar, they will be snug.
Add pickling liquid and let the cucumbers come to room temperature. Then store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
12 medium-small sized organic radishes
2 cloves of garlic
4-5 sprigs of fresh organic cilantro
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 green Thai chili, lightly smashed
1 tbsp salt
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
Soak whole radishes in cold water for 30 minutes to make sure any sand sinks to the bottom of a bowl. Once clean, cut into quarters.
Dissolve sugar, salt, spices in vinegar and water.
Place garlic, whole peppercorns, cilantro, coriander and chili into bottom of quart sized jar. Add radishes.
Fill with the remaining pickling liquid from the sour pickles and carrots. Or from the recipe above. Add more salt/vinegar to taste.