When I was little (old enough to stay by myself), I’d sometimes hang out at my Dad’s house in the summers while he he went off to work. Lunchtime would roll around and I’d open his refrigerator to see what sorts of things a Dad keeps in there. Sweet pickles and American cheese were always to be found. Yes, I like all varieties of pickles, and (gasp!) I like American cheese too. I discovered the joy of eating them together. But before I gross you out too much, I must share with you my first experience with pickling: Bread and Butter Pickles
Although sweet pickles are my favorite, bread and butter pickles run a close second. Their sweet and tangy crunch are pretty irresistible.
Here’s how you make them: start with pickling cucumbers. They’re smaller than a salad cucumber. Your market should carry them, and this time of year you’ll find them at farmer’s markets too.
Slice them up. Good, thick slices that will still allow the pickle to yield a crunch when you bite into it.
If you have one of these fancy doo-dads, you can make fancy pickles with ridges.
The pickles get a good dose of Kosher salt, then they can sit in the fridge for an hour. Then those pickles get rinsed off in the sink. Just rinse all of that salt off really well so that salty flavor won’t follow the pickles into the pickling liquid.
Make the pickling liquid. Combine sugar…
…and turmeric. Bring that all to a boil.
Meanwhile, add some sliced sweet onion to your sliced cucumbers.
Pour the hot pickling liquid over the cucumbers and onion.
Let it sit there at room temperature for an hour or so.
Move those cucumbers and onions to the cutest jar you have, and refrigerate them for 24 hours. This is when the magic process of pickling is going to happen.
If you’re impatient like me, you won’t wait 24 hours. I tried mine after just a few hours and they tasted perfectly pickled to me. So sweet and crunchy and incredibly tangy. If you’re a pickle fan (and you should be), you probably will enjoy these. They are so simple to make, and how cool would it be to be able to share homemade pickles at a summer barbecue?! And I promise that you don’t have to eat them with American cheese (but you’re tempted to try it now, aren’t you?)
This recipe is my contribution to Food Network’s Summer Fest, a season-long garden celebration to help give you ideas for using up Summer’s best fruits and vegetables. What’s your favorite way to eat cucumbers? Do you have a tip for working with cucumbers that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below, or join in the conversation on Twitter using the hash tag #cookingwith.
Yield: About 4 cups of pickles
Prep Time: 20 minutes + marinating time
Cook Time: 5 minutes