PICKLES. Need I say more?
OK, fine. I adore pickles, and I’d heard that they’re incredibly easy to make. But for some reason, I’d never made them. I preferred to just savor them when they came on a burger (mmm), or save them for last when they came on the side (those miniature ones! Mmm). They’re good in practically every form: fried, sliced, or whole. And while other vegetables make delicious guest-star pickles, regular ol’ pickles — that is, pickled cucumbers — are clearly the star of the show.
Anyway, I think we can all (mostly) agree about pickles. Recently, I learned that it’s possible to make homemade pickles in the fridge with just four ingredients: cucumbers, vinegar, salt, and dill. Throw them together in a glass jar, wait a few hours, and bam! PICKLES.
Well, that’s all I needed to hear. I went to the grocery store, I came home, and I made pickles. And then I put them on a sandwich. Guess what? It was delicious.
By making my own pickles, I’m participating in a centuries-old culinary tradition. Pickles have been around since way before the time of the Bible. Pickling vegetables is a way of preserving them, which was extra important when refrigerators were nothing but a distant dream. In the old days, people routinely fermented their pickles in saltwater brine for weeks. They’d stay fresh for months, as long as they were kept in a cool, dark place. When vegetables are fermented in saltwater brine, it’s impossible for bacteria to spoil the food. The fact that the same brine is delicious is just a bonus. Picklebacks, anyone?
Making traditional dill pickles is an involved process that, frankly, I still have no interest in. But nowadays, lazy home cooks like myself can easily make “quick pickles” in the fridge. They last for about three weeks, instead of months, but that’s OK, because they take only about five minutes to make, and they’re ready within hours (hence the name). There is no canning involved.
Cucumbers, by themselves, are a no-go for me; I’ll pick them off anything I’m eating. But in pickle form? I will eat them until, for the next 24 hours, every burp reminds me of their deliciousness. Gross, yes, but also, mmm.
Here we go!