Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Easiest Garlic/Dill Pickles

I think I've said before that I love pickles, of any sort. As long they are crunchy and sour, count me in.

However, I am quite fearful of the canning process-- the precise nature of it all. So I don't pickle vegetables in the traditional manner. Instead, I make refrigerator pickles which are very forgiving and much more informal a process. They don't last for months, as properly canned pickles do, but, at least in my case, they're eaten within a week anyway...

This recipe is incredibly easy. If you can boil water, you can make these.

I found baby carrots on sale at the market, so that is what I pickled yesterday, but use whatever vegetable you like; cucumbers, asparagus, cauliflower, onions, bell peppers, cabbage... let your tastebuds guide you. Leave small vegetables (like baby carrots) whole and cut larger ones down to fit neatly into the jar. The smaller the vegetable is cut, the more brine it will absorb thus having a stronger flavor.

For a 1 litre jar you will need:

Vegetable of choice to fill the jar, peeled/cleaned, chopped or left whole
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 and 1/2 cups white vinegar
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
3 bushy sprigs fresh dill weed (rinsed)
3 cloves garlic, peeled, trimmed and halved
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (for heat-- optional)

1) Mix the water, vinegar and salt. Heat to a boil-- this can be done in the microwave or on top of the stove.

2) Fill a very clean 1 litre canning jar with your prepared, raw vegetables to come about 1 inch below the top. Slip the garlic, dill seed and dill weed, garlic and red pepper flakes in amongst the vegetables.

3) Pour the boiling brine over top of the vegetables, cover but make sure that there is still 1/2 inch of space from the top of the jar. Place lid tightly on and leave to cool at room temperature.

They will remain crunchy, garlicy, dilly and delicious for up to a few weeks kept in the refrigerator-- but they may not last that long.

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