Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home-made spicy refrigerator pickles with a twist

Home-made pickles are a much better option compared to store-bought ones: significantly less sodium, fresh ingredients and the refrigerator ones are in a zinch to make. I tried this Cooking Light recipe last year, and loved it. This year I gave it a spin of my own: two decorative hot peppers which will likely not be only decorative after a few days.... but make pickles with a kick that will be great on a burger or in a tuna salad sandwich.

* about 1 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
* 1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced into half moons
* 2 cups white vinegar (I used a mix of 2/3 white winegar,  1/6 sherry vinegar and 1/6 TJ white balsamic vinegar)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*  5-6 juniper berries (optional)
* 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 2 long thin spicy chili peppers

Place the sliced garlic on the bottom of a sterilized large pickling jar. Slice the cucumbers thinly. Cut the onion in half and also cut into thin half moons. Layer both in the pickling jar, switching between cucumbers and onions (2/3 cucumber, 1/3 onion. Once the jar is half full, position the chili peppers on the side of the jar.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; close the lid of the jar, and let cool. Chill at least 4 days in the fridge.

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month. Use tongs or a fork (not fingers!) to take some, and they will last longer.

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