Eating seasonally doesn’t always have to mean eating what’s growing fresh in your garden right now. Summer’s produce can last all the way into winter with some advanced planning: canning, preserving and pickling are great techniques. Cucumbers are plentiful now, but keep them around all winter long, with half-sour cucumber pickles.
As a New Yorker, I grew up eating half-sour pickles. While bread-and-butter slices are perfect for hamburger toppings, half-sours are refreshing all on their own. Prepare spears of pickling cucumbers for quick refrigerator half-sours or canned half-sours for the winter.
Bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Stir until it dissolves.
Wash the cucumbers well and cut into spears. Wash a glass container with a lid very well, and layer the cucumbers and other ingredients in the jar. Pour the hot brine over them. Make sure that all of the cucumbers are submerged in brine. Cover, and allow to come to room temperature before storing in the fridge. You can start eating the pickles after about three days in the fridge. The pickles will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, but are optimal after about 7-8 days.
Canned Half-Sour Pickles
The recipe above makes great canned pickles as well. Double or triple as you see fit, and wait until the pickles have reached your ideal flavor; they are then ready to be canned.
Pack the pickles into sterilized jars, straining and reserving the brine. Bring the brine to a boil for at least five minutes. Cool to room temperature, and pour over the pickles. Seal the jars. Pickles should be stored in the refrigerator but will keep for several months and up to a year, as long as they’ve been sealed properly. Once opened, the pickles can be consumed for up to a week.