I had never given much thought to pickles until recently when I ate a phenomenal burger that was phenomenal not because of the actual burger but because of the pickle that was perched on top of it. Rather than just tasting sour this pickle had a really complex spicy flavor with hints of cinnamon and clove. It was a delicious match for the meat, cheese and vegetables (bison, brie and whiskey onion, to be exact!). I tried to create something similar in my own kitchen and the following recipe comes pretty close.
I had never pickled anything before so I started out with general directions from EatingWell.com. Their instructions simply involved making a brine, adding the cucumbers and spices to it and letting the whole thing sit in the fridge for 24 hours. No canning! I liked that. I made up my own mix of spices that, of course, included cinnamon. (I decided to use the true cinnamon as opposed to cassia). The result was really good, the pickles were crunchy, the cinnamon and clove flavors came through nicely and were balanced by the acidity, sweetness and a hint of spiciness from the pepper, mace and mustard seeds.
- one 2-cup jar with lid
- a few baby cucumbers or one regular cucumber
- one bay leaf
- one cinnamon stick (the real cinnamon, not cassia)
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt (try to use a salt that doesn’t contain any anti-caking agents, otherwise your solution will turn cloudy)
- Cut a small slice off the blossom end of each cucumber because the flower contains an enzyme that will soften the pickle.
- Cut the cucumber(s) (quarter or slice them) and put them in the jar.
- Add all spices to the jar.
- In a saucepan combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Boil the solution for 2 minutes. Fill the hot brine into the jar (I recommend using a funnel).
- Put the lid on (not too tight).
- Refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.
- Store in the fridge for up to a week.