Just tried my first attempt at pickling. I am starting the traditional route, with cucumbers. I bought the little ones. They are called ‘pickling cucumbers’. It took me a little while to unwrap that naming riddle. I grabbed each one, trying to get the firmest. I also avoided the slimy ones. Not sure if that mattered, but the idea of buying slimy didn’t fly with me.
Once again, Rhulman to the rescue. I used the spice mix from his book on Charcuterie. Two tablespoons each of black peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, op pepper flakes, allspice berries and whole cloves. One tablespoon ground mace, a couple bay leaves and a cinnamon stick. Whack the whole seeds with a heavy skillet to break them up, then toast the whole mess over low heat. This is the spice mix base that you can use for pickling a few different vegetables.
The brine bath is made up of 5 tablespoons salt, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon pickling spice that you just slaved over and 5 cups water. Dump in the cucumbers, cover with plastic wrap so none of them are sticking out of the brine and wait twenty four hours. You can put them in the fridge, but it will be quicker if you have a spot to put them in the 40-60 degree range. I put mine the the garage. It’s perfect weather for it, just make sure it doesn’t get above 70. While you are waiting, go to the grocery store to look at all the pickles and openly wonder to yourself why you are making them at home. After twenty four hours, try one of your new gems. Are they “pickley” enough? If not, let them ride for another day or two. When they are where you like them, wash them off and put them in a container of 5% salt water. Now, go back to the store and get some crackers. You will need them for the pickles.