Crocodile Chips (aka.: Refrigerator Pickles)

I was never a huge pickle fan until I ran across this recipe years ago in New York.  I was working at a restaurant called Bubby’s Pie Company, and they threw these “quick pickles” together in the summertime to go with their brioche cheeseburgers.  They are sweet, crunchy, spicy and tangy.  It’s great when you only have one or two pickling cucumber plants because you never have enough ripe at one time to pull together a real batch of hot pack pickles.  I throw in some sweet peppers and onions as a bonus pickle when the cucumbers don’t quite fill up the jar – they are great on nachos or in pasta sauce!  And when you run out of pickles (and you will, because these are highly addictive), save the brine and just toss in another batch of cukes!

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RECIPE

  • 4-5 medium sized pickle cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 small sweet onion (walla walla or vidalia), sliced into 1/2-in rings
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups HOT water
  • 1 cup granulated or raw sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spices*

Wash and slice the cucumbers.  Cut off both ends, and I like to slice them into 1/4-inch pieces on the diagonal.  It doesn’t really matter, but it looks nice.  You can also slice them into spears… which ever you like 🙂  Put them into a bowl and sprinkle them with salt.  Toss to coat and let them sit for about an hour.  This will release some of the liquid from the cucumbers (and that will make them crispier!).

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After an hour brining in salt…

In a large bowl, combine vinegar and water.  Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and set aside until your cukes are done “sweating”.

Get out a clean wide-mouth quart jar and put in your spices, onion and garlic.  If you want “cleaner” pickles that don’t have mustard and celery seed stuck to them, you can wrap the spices in a little cheesecloth and make a bouquet de garnie. I usually do it this way, but I’m out of cheesecloth, so there you have it.  When the cukes are ready, pack the slices firmly into the jars. If you want to add peppers or anything else, do that now as well (peppers should be sliced lengthwise on one or both sides first so the liquid can get into the middle). You don’t want to damage the veggies, but you do want them packed tight or they will kind of float up the top.

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Pour the vinegar & sugar into the jar, leaving about 1/2-inch of room at the top.  Tap jars gently on countertop to dislodge any trapped air bubbles.  Put on the lids and put them in the refrigerator. Let them percolate in there for at least a couple of days before raiding the jar.

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* If you don’t have pickling spices in a mix, you can make your own.  This combination of whole spices is suggestion, if you don’t have one or another of them – or if there is something here you don’t like, you can just skip that one.  This is a very flexible recipe…

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dill (or celery) seed
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

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