Pickles are quite a staple at our household. We eat them with sandwiches or just something to snack on in between meals. Most of the time, I get store-bought dill pickles but once in a while, I like to make some homemade pickles that is quick and easy.
The technique of pickling is quite an art form that can be traced back thousands of years ago. Almost every culture have mastered their own kind of pickling. Koreans with their kimchi, Chinese with their salted mustard greens, Italians with their giardiniera, Scandinavian with their pickled herring, Middle Eastern with their mekhallel. Pickling sure was big before refrigeration was invented. While I'm fascinated by different kinds of pickling, sometimes I just crave for some simple, homemade pickles!
Coming from a Chinese Hakka background, pickling was a big part of the Hakka cuisine because Hakkas were always finding ways to preserve food as they used to travel for long distances. Then as farmers, Hakkas would save up their surplus food supplies by pickling. Some of the most common Hakka preserved foods are pickled mustard greens, preserved mustard greens, fermented black beans, red fermented tofu, salted radish, and of course soy sauce. My grandfather's favorite Hakka dish, Braised Pork Belly with Red Bean Curd (南乳燜猪肉), uses red fermented tofu.
Okay, back to pickles. Let's start with some kirby cucumbers, shall we?
Using a Mandoline Slicer, choose the thickness to your liking, and slice away! (Please watch your fingers. Pleeeeease!)
I usually let the pickles sit in the fridge for 2 days before serving. It will retain its texture and flavor for up to a week.
Prep time: 2 days 10 mins Cook time: 5 mins Total time: 2 days 15 mins
Serves: 2, 16-oz jars
- 6 kirby cucumbers, about 2 cups
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp Mccormick mixed pickling spice
- Using a mandoline slicer, carefully slice all 6 cucumbers.
- Place sliced cucumbers into jars, filling almost to the top.
- Pour the rest of the ingredients in a small sauce pan, heat on the stove over low heat until sugar and salt has completely melted, then turn off heat immediately. Let vinegar mixture cool completely.
- Using a ladle and a funnel (or a ladle with pour spout), fill the jars with the vinegar mixture.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 days before serving. Pickles will retain their texture and flavor for about a week.