Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ice Box pickles

(click for full version)

I've done quick pickles before, but the vast majority of recipe's I've seen are for spicy, vinegary dill pickles. This is the first quick-pickle recipe I've seen for sweet bread-and-butter pickles. I had to try it. To be truly obsessive, I tried three recipes at once: this one, a refrigerator pickles recipe I had tried previously, and a generic quick pickle recipe. All three are now in my fridge, with tasty (but different) results.

Original recipe:
6 cups sliced cukes
1 cup sliced onions
Cover with water and let stand 3 hours

Drain &
1 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp celery seed
Mix. Stir till sugar and salt are dissolved.
Pour over cukes.Cover
Store in refrigerator. Delicious and keeps for months.

I assume "drain &" means the water is reseved and mixed with the vinegar. I had trouble visualizing a brine based on 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups sugar and no water.

I did a half-recipe of this - enough for a four-cup mason jar - and similar amounts of the other two recipes. Two large english cucumbers were sliced into chips and spears and divided between these three recipes.

Ice Box Cukes (Isllah's recipe box): ~3 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup sugar (half recipe)
Refrigerator Pickles (Instructables): ~2 cups water, 1/3 cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar
Quick pickle (Serious Eats): 1 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar

Flavorants for each recipe:
Ice Box Cukes: onion slices, celery seed
Refrigerator Pickles: dill, peppercorns, ground pepper, garlic
Quick Pickle: dill, ground pepper, garlic

The taste test:
The Ice Box Cukes were sweet, and definitely a good replacement for pre-made "bread-and-butter" pickles. Next time there's a gathering involving burgers on a grill, I might bring a small batch of these. Perhaps without the onion - I'm not sure I liked how that combined with the sweetness. These are good pickles to put on burgers and sandwiches.

The Refrigerator Pickles were ... ok dills. Not spectacular, just kind of middle-of-the road. These are the pickles I've made before.

The Quick Pickle, however, was strong. Not just vinegary, but the garlic and dill and pepper also came through very strong. I'll definitely be reusing and adapting this recipe for dill pickles. Next time I may add some chinese chilis, and maybe some cumin. I might even dial the vinegar back a little bit, or use a slightly better vinegar (since vinegar is such a huge ingredient for this kind of pickle). These are the pickles to snack on out of the fridge.

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