Do you have a favorite type of pickle? I don't think I could choose just one. I love dill pickles on a burger or Cuban sandwich. Gherkins chopped up in my mother-in-law's potato salad. But the zesty cucs I eat most often are bread and butter. I pile those babies sky high on every sandwich that crosses my lunch plate. Turkey, ham, tuna; I don't discriminate. As long as every.single.bite includes the sweet crunch of bread and butter pickles, I'm happy.
Since I consume my body weight in pickles, I thought it might be wise—or at least fun—to try my hand at making my own. I wasn't about to bust out my canning equipment for this project, so I started reading recipes for refrigerator pickles. Here's the gist: Salt the cucumbers, cover them with a hot vinegar-sugar brine, let them sit in the fridge. Boom.
I waited the requisite 24 hours before taking my first bite. And I must admit, I was nervous. Even though these pickles were easy (seriously...really easy), I felt invested. I waited 24 hours to eat my creation. That's a lot of delayed gratification!
But, you guys, these things are delicious. Crunchy, tangy, sweet...good gracious. It is absolutely worth the minimal effort and 24 hours of patience to make your own pickles. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.
Bread & Butter Pickles
4 pickling cucumbers*, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 sweet onion, very thinly sliced (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
Toss together sliced cucumbers, onion, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for an hour and a half. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Place cucumbers and onion into canning jars or a non-reactive bowl.
Combine water, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, and spices in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers and onions. Let stand at room temperature for an hour. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. You can store the pickles in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
*Pickling cucumbers are also known as Kirby cucumbers. They're smaller than the standard cucs you slice up for salads, usually less than 6". If you can't find Kirby cucumbers, just use whatever kind you can track down at the grocery store.