Monday Stuff: Pickles

I am not sure when I became a homebody. I used to live for Friday night cocktails, and was always searching for the nearest event. More than often, I never wanted to spent the weekends at home. Currently, you will find me at home on Friday nights, literally always. My boyfriend, Jake and I prefer the couch and our dog, over bar scenes. The highlight of our weekend? Canning fresh kirby cucumbers together. 

I thought I just turned 29? I missed the 90 years of aging somehow...

Honestly, at this point, we are embracing it. We still have our fun outside of the house, but most weekends, we love being homebodies. And just recently? Our love affair with homemade pickles has been teetering on obsessive. We canned for the first time last weekend when we found the most beautiful kirby cucumbers at the farmer's market, just begging to be made into fresh pickles. We experimented with different types of vinegar and simple spices, and two days later...some of the BEST pickles we have ever had. 

We have missed Milwaukee brand pickles since we moved to California, and spending 10 dollars on a jar of pickles just didn't seem worth it. I felt like we needed to brag a bit, because we were both so enthusiastic about pickling, it was almost comical. When we saw a fresh batch of the cucumbers at the market again this weekend, we knew we needed a round two. Jake and I ended up making 5 jars of pickles on Saturday afternoon! What badasses. Using a half apple cider, half white vinegar mixture, we are excited to see the results. We even went a little sassier on some of the spice mixtures.

Monday Stuff, Pickles |

From the left, we have a szechuan pepper, garlic dill, Cajun, and a mustard dill. Not pictured is ANOTHER can of whole ones that we did a simple garlic dill. They take about 48 hours to crisp up as these are the simple refrigerator pickles, but we are going to wait about a week to open most of them, to make sure they are super crispy. 

Full disclosure, we got very excited and opened one up after 24 hours and definitely wait a minimum of two days, otherwise they just taste like pickle flavored cucumbers. I am honestly not sure that anyone cares about these pickles as much as Jake and I do, but it is our special little project that we did together, so I wanted to share it!

What we did:

1. Quartered 16 small kirby cucumbers into slices. 

2. Filled the mason jars with various spices, every jar had at least 3-4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, and a handful of fresh dill (except for the Cajun).

3. Laid the jars on their sides, and filled them with pickle slices (keeping the seed portions pressed together, another step to making them extra crispy).

4. Brought 4 cups vinegar (half apple cider vinegar, half white), 5 1/2 cups water and 3 tablespoons of sea salt to a boil. 

5. Using a funnel, poured the brine into the jars filling them to the top. *Attempting* to keep all the cucumbers slices underneath the brine. Immediately sealed all of the jars, let them cool to room temperature, then putting them in the fridge. 

6. Let them sit for a minimum of 48 hours before breaking open to them and devouring!

It was such a fun project for a couple to do, as a date night project. This is not an attempt to turn more people into homebody zombies (but I mean that would free up the beach for us more). This was such a (forgive the lameness that is about to commence), a bonding experience for us. We discussed flavors, worked as a team, and it felt like we really did something cool. It was different than actually cooking together, because to be perfectly honest, we prefer to cook alone. Jake is very serious while he cooks, I on the other hand, love to dance and sing while I create.

So crucial advice: make pickles. 

Really, can't everything be improved with good food?