Do you love homemade pickles or know someone who does? Does the idea of being able to make your very own pickles, tailored to your tastes excite you? A homemade burger is an amazing thing, and we even have several recipes and tips in our other articles to help you make the perfect burger. Though, a few of the toppings warrant special attention. One of those ingredients being pickles, there are so many options here and this recipe is merely a guideline. Take this recipe and really make it your own by tweaking the spices and vegetables used to make pickles that give you out of this world flavor.
Our ancestors did not have the joys of refrigeration. Instead, they had to preserve their produce in a manner that would last for months without the aid of refrigeration. So, they used one of the best known preservatives – salt. You know salt has amazing preservation abilities and that on top of that, it can kill a lot of the dangerous bacteria that we often have assaulting us. So, a simple brine of 2.5-3 Tablespoons of salt per every 2 cups of water. You can remember that fairly easily. Some people do it with less salt, but it is best to be experienced and do your research before testing such a thing.
You should always throw away or compost anything that smells or looks off at all, and if you get any mold growth you should as well. The key here is to keep all vegetables fully submerged to ensure that your veggies are able to fully benefit from the beneficial bacteria that are “pickling” them. This process is full of beneficial bacteria just like yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut. Fermented foods are a fantastic addition to a healthy diet and they are easy.
First make your brine with the salt and water. Each well filled quart jar will need approximately two cups of brine. You want to make sure you get salt free of iodine additives and anti-caking agents. You also want to use non-chlorinated water. Warm the water up until the salt is thoroughly dissolved. You need not bring it to a boil. For each quart, you can add whatever seasonings you like most.
The traditional ones though would use a few slices of fresh garlic, about a tablespoon of dill seed, 2 teaspoons of mustard seed, and about 10 whole peppercorns. Make it spicy and add a teaspoon or two of red chili flakes if you like. Add the spices to clean, sterilized jars. Then fill to about 2” from the top with small, fresh, pickling cucumbers. Once your cucumbers are in there, add a source of tannins such as a few cleaned oak leaves, a bag of black tea, or grape leaves. Fill about 1” from the top with brine and use a weight of some sort to keep the veggies fully submerged. Close your jars loosely to limit oxygen exposure.
At this point, you can use an airlock system to “burp” the jars for you automatically or you can do so as needed, about once per day. Keep the jars at room temperature for roughly a week and start testing your cucumbers. You can seal them and put your homemade pickles in the refrigerator or a storage cellar when the tanginess is to your liking. The pickles will keep for quite some time in this state if kept cool. The warmer they are, the more quickly they will need to be used. Always be careful to smell and inspect the pickles before eating them. If anything seems off, play it safe and throw them out or compost them.
These pickles can be canned but will lose all of their beneficial probiotics if you do that. Now you can surprise your friends with fresh, homemade pickles to top your freshly grilled burgers with. Now won’t that be a treat?
3 Tablespoons sea salt
2 cups non-chlorinated water
1 small clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon dill seed
2 teaspoons whole mustard seed
2-3 cleaned oak leaves
Fresh pickling cucumbers
Dissolve salt in water, warming water as necessary to do so. Pack clean sterilized jars first with spices and then with pickling cucumbers (whole or slices) to within 2” of the top of the jar. Cover the vegetables and spices with brine, and add your oak leaves. Use a weight to keep vegetables fully submerged. Cover jar and let gases escape as needed, wipe away any scum that forms with a clean paper towel. In 5-7 days check cucumbers for taste, move to cool storage or a refrigerator when desired tang is achieved.
It is perfectly normal for your brine to get cloudy and for there to be bubbles. The bubbles are actually a good sign that your pickles are happy and fermenting. You can also use other vegetables for your homemade pickles, such as zucchini and add hot peppers if you are after spicy pickles. I hope you have enjoyed this post and let us know if you have any tips, suggestions, or requests for a specific topic to be covered.