I am a Farmer’s Market addict. I have to go each Saturday. I need to see what has ripened since my last visit. The colors, smells and ultimately the tastes of the market captivate me. I just bought tomatoes, blackberries, corn, zucchini, peppers, peaches and cucumbers. I love it all, but I was especially thrilled with the big baskets of small cucumbers that are perfect for pickles. I now officially declare it “Pickle Season.”
I don’t mean those pickles that take effort, brining, and weeks of fermentation. Nope. I mean quick, easy, and ready – tomorrow pickles.
This recipe is more like a marinated cucumber, so you don’t need all of the canning equipment. They are not processed, so they must be kept refrigerated and served in about a week. It makes just 2 quarts—the perfect amount for you to think about eating one jar and giving one jar to a friend. (At least think about.)
I took a jar from my first batch this season to a church event and shared them with a friend and sure enough, the recipe is trailing through my friends like a quick growing cucumber vine! One taste and everyone I know is hooked and has to make them. They are that good. I shared the recipe last summer on The Kansas City Star’s Chow Town blog, but it is so good I wanted to be sure and share it on our blog so all of our friends could make them.
They are, like the name says, slightly sweet, but not too sweet, and flavored with dill. They aren’t like any of the bread and butter pickles my friends and neighbors used to make. They taste new and trendy and more like the great pickles chefs are making and serving at the restaurants.
So, now is the time. No, you cannot use the typical grocery store cucumber varieties since they are waxed. Sleep late on Saturday and miss the market and you just might miss out on one of the best tastes of summer.
Slightly Sweet Dill Refrigerator Pickles
Makes 2 quarts
1 small sweet yellow onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), halved and thinly sliced
2 pounds medium pickling cucumbers, scrubbed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large bunch dill, coarsely chopped (stems included)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons dill seeds
Divide sliced onion between two 1-quart wide-mouth glass jars. Pack cucumber slices horizontally in jars. Top each jar with dill.
Using mortar and pestle or resealable plastic bag and mallet, crush the mustard seeds and peppercorns together. Place crushed spices in medium saucepan. Add the red pepper flakes, vinegar, water, sugar, coarse salt and dill seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Lade the mixture evenly over the cucumbers. Leave jars uncovered and chill 24 hours.
Cover the pickle jars tightly with lids. Keep refrigerated. Serve within 1 week.
Recipe credit: Bon Appetit, June 2008