I know, “world’s greatest” is a pretty bold claim, but I think you’re going to agree. What’s more, these will be ready in just 24 hours! (Note though that waiting several days to a week will allow for more flavor penetration.) Yes, they’re vinegar pickles, not fermented, but this is a site with the word “brine” in the title and the brine on these is something special.
This recipe fills a half gallon jar. If preferred, you can use two quart jars. For one quart jar, just cut all the amounts in half.
At the end of this recipe, instructions are given for making some pickled eggs using the brine once you finish the pickles. The insane brine just keeps on giving!
You will need: half gallon mason jar (or equivalent); cutting board; knife (or wavy slicer is even better); large mixing bowl; measuring cups & spoons; wooden stirring spoon; medium saucepan; mortar & pestle (suggested)
Note that since these are not fermented pickles, they won’t have the healthy probiotic bacteria produced by lacto-fermentation but they are still all natural (just take a look at all the junk in store bought vinegar pickles!) and can easily be made using organic produce and sugar. For other reasons, a limited amount of vinegar in your diet is also beneficial to gut health.
- 2 – 2.25 lbs. small/pickling cucumbers, 1/4″ sliced
- 2 TBSP pickling salt (40g)
- 1 rounded cup (100 g) thinly sliced sweet onion (or substitute with other onion)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (100g)
- 1.5 cups white vinegar
- 1.25 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBSP mustard seeds
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Recommended add-on blend (to make these pickles the best in the world):
- 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 5 allspice berries
- 5 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- For spicy bread & butters: 1-2 jalapenos (or more), sliced
1.) Wash and then slice cucumbers into 1/4” slices
2.) In a large bowl, gently mix the salt and the cucumber slices evenly. Allow to sit for about 1.5 hours. (Covering with plastic wrap recommended)
3.) After the allotted time, strain and then thoroughly rinse the cucumbers. Place them back in the mixing bowl and add the sliced onions.
4.) Combine all the spices into a mortar and pestle and lightly crush. (Or you can place in a plastic bag and lightly crush with a rolling pin.) The bay leaf can be kept whole or crushed by hand. Alternately, if you have the time, you can take all the whole spices, toast them on a small pan over low-medium heat for a couple minutes, until they’re aromatic. Then coarsely crush in mortar and pestle.
5.) In the saucepan, add the white and apple cider vinegar and the white and brown sugar. Heat on medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
6.) Add all the spices to the saucepan, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before pouring the brine over the cucumbers, bring the brine to a near boil.
7.) Place the cucumber/onion mix in a half gallon jar (or divide between two quart jars if needed). Slowly pour the heated brine mixture over the cucumbers and allow to stand for one hour. Fill to about 1/4″ of the lid. If there’s excess brine, it may be discarded or used for another purpose.
8.) Transfer to the refrigerator and allow at least 2-3 days before opening. (Full flavor penetration will be after at least a week but these can be eaten at any time!)
Pickled eggs: Leftover brines, whether they be vinegar-based or from saltwater lacto-fermentation, are excellent to use for pickling eggs in the fridge. Once you finish these pickles, you can make at least a half dozen hard-boiled eggs per quart jar. Pour over this leftover brine and allow a week in the fridge to absorb the flavor. (When using ferment brines, I do recommend adding vinegar at a rate of about 15% of the original brine to ensure safe levels of acidity. This Bread & Butter recipe is already vinegar-based so no need to add more to this for eggs.)
I absolutely adore my rapid egg boiler. Once, boiled, peel them. For them to soak up even more delicious brine, you can salt cure them overnight first. This means rubbing each egg in about 1 tsp salt and placing them in a ziploc or other container, in a fridge, overnight. The next day you will see a lot of moisture has been released by the egg. Rinse the eggs and then put them in the jar of brine. Place the jar in the refrigerator and give them a try after several days to a week. These will have shelf-life in the fridge of a couple weeks beyond that. Bon appetit!