Middle Eastern Cucumber Pickles
If you follow some recipes, making pickles can consume countless hours. Instead, take Alan Kaufman's advice and try this recipe - the pickles take about 20 minutes to make and only two days of waiting time. And the addition of ginger, cardamon, and cinnamon gives the pickles a subtle Middle Eastern flavor.
- Slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces and discard the ends.
- Place the cucumbers in two wide-mouthed quart jars.
- Combine all of the spices and lightly crush with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon. (For a more Eastern European pickle, you can eliminate the allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamon and replace with dried hot pepper, more garlic, and dill or dill seed.) Divide the spice mixture evenly between the two jars.
- Bring the water to a boil in a stainless steel, glass, or enamel saucepan.
- Add the vinegar and salt and stir with a rubber spatula until the salt dissolves.
- Pour the hot liquid evenly into the jars.
- Let the mixtures cool on your counter for about one hour and then seal them with the jar lids. Shake the jars upside down 2 times to combine the spices with the liquid.
- Place the jars in a closet or another cool dark place for 2 days. During this time the pickles will soften and be preserved by the saline solution, and the flavors will all meld beautifully.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Pickling in vinegar hastens the process of souring, but your vegetables will brown faster.
- If fresh garlic turns blue/green in the pickling jar, the garlic is very fresh or there is not enough salt in the brine.
- Placing the pickles in the refrigerator immediately without waiting the 2 days will yield bright green and crisper pickles.