Walking around a shop of fine artisanal food products always makes us sad about the current state of our bank accounts. Spying jars of organic Asian pear butter and lofty rosemary focaccia loaves is enough to make us seriously question our spending habits. After all, who needs textbooks when you have baked brie? But producing almost all of these foods require a long, tiresome process — which is why they’re so ridiculously expensive. But thankfully, we have the pickle.
The pickle is the lone food that even the laziest of people (ourselves included) can manage to make. Sluggishness is almost a prerequisite for pickling, seeing as the vast majority of your time is spent waiting around. It’s perfect to undergo during a Netflix marathon or a nap or two. All you need is a jar, vegetables of your choosing, salt, sugar and vinegar.
Starting with the classic cucumber for the first recipe, you’ll need enough to pack a mason jar tightly. We usually like to buy a box of Trader Joe’s Persian cucumbers because we like their crispness. You have the choice of cutting the cucumber into spears, which are perfect if you’re snacking on them alone, or in rounds — the optimal shape for adding to sandwiches. Next is making the brine to submerge the spears or rounds in. Simply combine three-quarters of a cup of white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 cup of hot water and spices of your choosing — we personally like dill, garlic and peppercorn — and stir. Wait for it to cool, and then pour it into your jar until it completely covers the cucumbers. Then, just pop it into the fridge and wait for at least 24 hours (which is actually the hardest part). The thought of your cucumbers pickling away will make you want to get up and peek your head into the fridge numerous times during the day.
This is the basic recipe. But be warned: Once you start pickling, you’ll want to pickle everything. Just use the same proportions of vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Then feel free to switch up everything else. These are some suggestions for some veggie, fruit, spice and vinegar combinations to pickle your fancy.
Sweet pickled cherries
Cherries + white vinegar + black and pink peppercorns + cinnamon + ginger
Asian cucumber salad
Rice vinegar +red pepper + garlic+ sesame
*Extra tasty with a drizzle of sesame oil after pickling
Spicy habanero pickled mango
Slices of habanero peppers + cinnamon+ cardamom+ ginger
Contact Ismael Farooqui at [email protected].