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Cucumber and Pepper Pickles with Whole Spices

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This recipe makes 4-5 well packed quart jars of pickles. And though my family can eat them all in a week, if you have a small family or are cooking for one, make the 4 jars anyway. They’re a lovely gift to share with your neighbors, your children’s teachers, or the person who’s hosting the summer BBQ you’re attending!

8-12 Persian Cucumbers, sliced thin (Persian cukes vary in sizes but are always much smaller than regular cukes. Do use them, English cukes or garden cukes release too much water and have to be peeled and seeded..these don’t.)

1 Sweet Onion, sliced thin (If you can get Maui Onions, Vidalia, Walla-Walla or Texas Sweet onions, use them.  If not, use a white onion…which is more mild than a yellow onion.)

1-4 fresh spicy peppers  (This is a matter of taste. Here, I used 4 fresh jalapenos.. which  have a bit of a kick if you don’t bother to seed them. But if those are too hot, try using peperoncini, banana peppers, or even red bell peppers…I’ve used them all depending on what’s in season at the local farmers market…after they’ve soaked in the vinegar for a day or two, they all mellow out and work…)

4-5 thick slices of fresh peeled ginger root..(try not to skip it, it makes up for the lost sugar and adds great taste and health benefits.)

1 cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar

1 cup White Wine Vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of each of the following 6 whole spices in seed (not ground) form:

Dill Seed, Mustard Seed, Coriander Seed, Cumin Seed, Fennel Seed, Celery Seed

Place your whole spice seeds into a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. (You can crush a few with a rolling pin if you like…or be lazy like I sometimes am, and don’t.) Toss in the ginger slices as well.

Add the 1 cup rice wine vinegar and 1 cup white wine vinegar and microwave, on 40% strength, for 10 minutes….The low heat will draw out the flavors of the spice seeds without boiling over.

While the marinade heats, chop your cucumbers, onions and peppers, plop them in a bowl and sprinkle all with a tiny bit of salt.

Once the marinade is warm, pour it over your veggies and toss well.  (It’s going to look like far more veggies than you’ll need for 4 jars, but after they soak in the hot marinade, they’ll collapse and be easy to pack into the jars.)

Let cool at room temperature for an hour,  stirring and tossing now and then.

Using clean hands, pack your veg into the jars…pressing down to compact..

Then fill each jar with the remaining liquid, put on the lids, and let sit for another day or two in the fridge…

Voila…That’s it!!

Enjoy and don’t forget to share with friends!

 

- Recipe courtesy of Lisa McRee

 

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