I love the casual rapport that happens when good friends email eachother. Gone are salutations, gone are general mentions of health or humor, and nine times out of ten, we cut to the chase. I love it. My Dear friend Debbie (a most fabulous designer in case you ever need) wrote me tonight:
"Um. I want to make crispy pickles because I bought a bag 'o' cukes today. I don't want to boil and seal and all that. Thought I saw a recipe somewhere this week that says you can just pack em in some good juju and eat em in two days. True?"
And with that, here is my response (as a recipe) for refrigerator quick pickled cucumbers, done right:
Yes, pretty much.
Tonight, soak them in a salt water brine. Salt water should be salty like the sea.
Tomorrow, drain & add cukes to a large jar or bowl. Heat vinegar with pickling spices. Pour over cukes and let cool on counter or in fridge. Hold in fridge until you're ready to eat them.
Last week, I did this same thing, but I sliced them thick and used rice wine vinegar and some sugar. DELICOUS.
And of course, she had more questions:
Great. I have cider vinegar, will that work? And is there a clue to how much pickling spice? I have about 20 small cukes.
And I had answers:
Cider vinegar will work, yes. But for the record, the brine will be cloudy and the flavor much softer. Go easy on the sugar.
It really depends on what you like. If you're going for a dill pickle, load it up. If you're going for a spicy asian vibe, I do a little this and a little that - one cinnamon stick, one star anise, 6 cloves - something light. You can always make your brine, taste it and adjust BEFORE pouring over your pickles. That's your best bet!
Try making your brine tonight and then letting it sit overnight. That way, the flavors will infuse and be more pronounced and true. You can heat it up and adjust tomorrow before draining your brine and pouring over your cukes.
And she had one more question:
Thanks. Last question - should I quarter them before brining or after. OR do you like a whole unpeeled little guy. I am a pickle virgin as you can tell.
And I had one more answer:
I'd quarter some, leave some, slice some. Then you know better for next time! Whatever you like in the end, you should do. You want chips? slice them! Spears? Quarter them.
I will go forth and pickle with abandon!