Sara’s Kitchen: Quick Pickles & Spiked Tea
For Christmas last year, I received a crock pot. No, not a slow cooker, but a real crock meant for fermentation. My friend, Carl, has a bunch of big ones he uses to make his annual sauerkraut, and tons of people use them for pickling all kinds of foods. Along with this gift, I received a book on pickling, and separately, a canning set.
If you’re on our Christmas list, it’s safe to expect pickles and venison this year. We also barter.
When it was time to plant this year’s garden, I chose two “homemade pickle” cucumber plants. Cucumbers are rather prolific, and mine are happily growing up a small trellis. I think I’ve already harvested about 10, and they’re just getting started.
This weekend, we were planning for a cookout with friends, and I thought I’d try my hand at quick pickling (read: no fermentation), also called “refrigerator pickles” (because you’re not canning these either).
Last year I made hot pickled peppers in a similar style (and I’ll share that recipe later this summer; it’s delicious but HOT), but I might can those this time around.
I found a pretty simple plan for quick pickling, thanks to Whole Foods.
Here’s what I did for Garlicky “Medium” Pickles:
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons pickling salt, or other coarse salt
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- The end of a jar of chopped garlic, maybe 1-2 cloves, plus juice. Just chop up or mince some garlic.
- A “palm-full” of red pepper flakes
- 4 pickling cucumbers, sliced into disks
- 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced*
Chop vegetables and fill into mason jars or other tight-closing container. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt and whole spices in a pot on the stove. You can be creative here; I plan to be in the future. Bring to a boil (some say a boil isn’t necessary; you just need it warm enough to dissolve the sugar and salt), then pour (carefully!) into the jars to fully cover all the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and place in fridge for at least one hour (I’d aim for 12-24) to a week.
We devoured one jar (maybe 18 hours in the fridge) with friends in one day. These won’t last long. However, they should keep up to a month, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.
Pour: Spiked Iced Tea
- Brew 2 quarts of iced tea (go ahead and use instant; I did).
- Add 1 cup of blood orange vodka and a half a cup of Hibiscus liqueur.
- Gently stir.
- Have husband taste for potency.
- Free pour some more vodka in.
- Add ice, and enjoy with friends!