Make your brine
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1.25 tablespoons kosher/canning/pickling salt (anything but table salt, really) per 2 cups water
Prep your herbs and spices
- Mustard seed
- Fresh diced garlic
- Rosemary (I’d recommend whole fresh springs, otherwise the needles float to the top)
- Dill (again, whole fresh sprigs are preferable)
- Whole peppercorns
- All ingredients should be completely submerged. If not, make another batch of brine but go easy on the vinegar, and use more water instead.
Here’s where it gets fun: - I used a lot of garlic. An unholy amount, really. Use so much that when you look in the jar, it looks almost like a snowglobe. - Lots of peppercorns. For my huge jar (pic below), I used probably 1⁄3 or 1⁄2 of a cup. - Mess it up with dill and rosemary. I mean cram really that thing.
- Again, there was so much garlic and peppercorns and mustard seed that it looked like a snowglobe.
The most important part of a pickling recipe is the brine. The mixins are entirely up to you. I like peppery, garlicky, earthy things, so I went pretty hard.
And if it’s your first time making pickles (as it was mine), I’d suggest not limiting yourself to just cucumbers. Throw some radishes, carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, tiny onions, etc. in the jar. At the very least, you’ll learn how your recipe and modifications fared with other vegetables. And all the flavors will get to comingle, which I can’t imagine is bad.
And don’t ever forget that cooking is supposed to be fun (which isn’t to say that all food preparation should be euphoric. Rather, you should feel comfortable experimenting and failing on occasion. How else are we supposed to learn?). If your batch of pickles isn’t good enough to eat on their own, then just eat them on a sandwich and try again.