Dill Pickles

[image: back of an envelope with the recipe scrawled on it]
[image: back of an envelope with the ingredients scrawled on it]

I don’t have a photo of the pickles because we ate them too quickly for me to get them into a nice jar (they were DAMN GOOD). So enjoy this scrawled ingredient list on the back of an envelope. It’s how many of my kitchen antics are recorded.

I’ve made three different kinds of pickles over the last few weeks. My folks had half a head of fennel that they weren’t going to use, so I found this recipe for Pickled Fennel with Orange on Serious Eats. I guess the only change I made was that I used the stalks of fennel as well as the bulb I had, to try and approximate “three small fennel bulbs.” (I wish they’d had a weight measurement instead.) The other thing which was recommended in the comments was to rinse the fennel after salting it.

I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but after like a week of flavor development I really got into it. It was good out of the jar, but my preferred application was on sandwiches. Toasted rye, cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, and fennel/orange pickle.

The second pickle is the dill cucumber pickles, recipe below. These were so good that I’m going to attempt cucumbers this year in my garden. But that is for a different post!

After we hoovered up the cucumber pickles, I decided to reuse the brine on some leftover asparagus spears. Reusing brine is NOT recommended if you’re canning, but it’s fine for refrigerator pickles. Asparagus has to be blanched first before putting into the briny deep. They’ve been in there for 48 hours; I tried a spear today but they weren’t ready yet. I’ll wait a few more days.

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
24 cucumber spears (I had 1.5 large cucumbers—sliced in half across, then each half into eighths)

Place the dill seeds, peppercorns, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leafs in the bottom of your pickling container of choice (I use cleaned 32-oz. yogurt containers). Wedge the cucumber spears into the container atop the spices.

In a small pot, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil. Carefully pour into the container. Refrigerate for a week before eating. (If you are not using a jar and therefore find that the end of your spears are bobbing over the surface of the brine, rotate them top to bottom every other day.)

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