This light brine works great with many foods: cucumbers, of course, but also carrots, turnips, onions, green beans, asparagus, jalapeno chiles, even apples. And your pickles will last for weeks in the fridge (where you MUST keep them at all times or the pickles will go bad). Don't skip the step of simmering the garlic; this cooks out sulfur compounds that otherwise will cause the cloves to turn a harmless but very unappetizing blue-green color from the acid in the vinegar.
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns (if you have 'em)
- Several sprigs fresh dill
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise
- 6 kirby cucumbers, cut lengthwise into quarters
- 4 hot red chiles or 2 jalapenos, whole or (for more heat) halved
- 4 scallions, white parts only
For the brine: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, divide the celery seed, coriander seed, mustard seed, peppercorns and dill evenly between two 1-quart Mason jars. Add the vinegar and salt to the saucepan, bring the brine back to a boil, and stir until the salt dissolves.
Transfer 3 cloves of garlic to each jar using tongs, then pack the jars full with the carrots, cucumbers, chiles, scallions or whatever other vegetables you're using. You want them to be really stuffed.
Pour the hot brine over the vegetables to completely cover. Let cool, and then refrigerate. The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, but they'll be better after a couple of days.
Cook's Note: A canning-size funnel makes it easier to pour the hot brine into the jars.