(Editor's Note:The following piece is from Mike Derr's "Made by Mike" blog. You can find more information at madebymike.wordpress.com.)
A few weeks back we received quite the bounty of pickling cucumbers in our CSA share. About the same time, a co-worker was telling me about how she was making pickles from the cucumbers in her garden. She described a pretty simple method for making pickles that will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.
After doing a bit more research from my friend Martha’s website I came upon the recipe that I’d use for the pickling. The recipe takes about an evening to work through. There’s a bit of waiting between preparation steps. And then, the final great wait: one week in the refrigerator before the first taste. I made it five days before I cracked open a jar and tasted the best dill pickle.
I adjusted the original recipe just a bit. An addition of a tablespoon of mustard seed gave the final product just the right look. If you’ve never made you own pickles, I’d strongly recommend that you give these a try. They’re crisp, flavorful and perfect to eat just as a snack on their own or perched on top of a juicy grilled burger.
Dill-Pickle Chips - adapted from Martha Stewart Living, August 2004
• 2 pounds Kirby (pickling) cucumbers
• 3 tablespoons coarse salt
• 3 cups water
• 2 cups distilled white vinegar
• 1 tablespoon dill seed
• 1 tablespoon mustard seed
• 4 cloves garlic
• 2 bunches fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Cut the cucumbers into 1/2-inch thick rounds, and transfer to a colander set in a bowl. Toss well with salt. Refrigerate cucumber rounds for 1 hour.
Rinse the cucumber rounds well; drain. Pat dry between paper towels. Transfer cucumber slices to a large bowl.
Bring 3 cups water, vinegar, dill seed, mustard seed and garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring. Reduce heat; simmer 4 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Add chopped dill to cucumber slices, and toss to combine. Pour in the brine. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to airtight containers, and refrigerate at least 1 week. Pickles will keep for 3 weeks more. They won’t last that long. Ours were all gone in under 2 weeks.