Pickles are a snack staple in some households. Maybe it’s because they can be a low or even zero calorie snack, or because they offer a ton of crunch, but some families can’t get enough of them. The trouble is, keeping them in stock in the pantry and the refrigerator can be a struggle and your favorite brand might not always be on sale. If you can learn how to pickle cucumbers at home, however, you can skip the middleman and be in control of how often you have them in stock and how crunchy, salty, and big or small they are.
Yes, making your own cucumbers at home presents a lot of care and more steps than simply buying a few jars from the supermarket. But if you can master the art of pickling cucumbers and make your own homemade pickles, you can potentially make the best kind you have ever had.
The Benefits Of Pickles
Although pickles might seem like a salty snack full of sodium, they can also offer some health benefits that make them an even better snack. Pickles are made from cucumbers, so right off the bat, you can take comfort in the fact that you are munching on vegetables. They also have natural antioxidants. Although some fruits and veggies lose some crucial nutrients when you cook them, the fermenting step in pickling cucumbers can actually preserve them.
They can also be beneficial for their vinegar content. Fermented pickles, which are high in vinegar, can help combat blood sugar levels. So while it might not seem like the best idea to have these with every meal, if only because of the sour taste, pickles can potentially help those with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels down.
Pickle are high in Vitamin A too. And because Vitamin A is known to be good for eyesight, pickles can also be helpful in your long-term vision. And if you aren’t afraid to chug some pickle juice after you have eaten your fill of pickles, it can help with muscle cramps, which is especially beneficial for athletes.
How To Pickle Cucumbers
The first step to pickling cucumbers is picking out the right cucumbers for your potential pickles. Remember that the more firm the cucumber is, the crunchier your pickles will be. This means you should stay away from overly ripe or even remotely soft cucumbers. You should also be sure to check the skin to make sure it doesn’t have any faint wrinkles. If cucumbers already have any of these traits, chances are, by fermenting them, you could intensify these qualities in the pickles.
Next, you need to add herbs, spices, garlic, and dill to canning jars with corresponding lids to eventually be tightly closed shut. Per one and a half pounds of sliced pickles, divide the following ingredients evenly between two pint jars: four cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed, two teaspoons of dill seeds, and one half of a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, which is optional.
After that, you can prepare the brine. In this case, you will use one cup of apple cider vinegar, one cup of water, and one and a half tablespoons of pickling salt or kosher salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and then pour it evenly over the cucumbers in each jar. Make sure there aren’t any air bubbles, and then tightly screw on the lids and place the jars in your refrigerator. Although it might be hard to resist your homemade pickles at first, try to wait at least 48 hours for all of the flavors to really ruminate with the cucumbers and transform your pickles.
It might seem like a lot of work and a few too many steps to make pickles of your own, but for some, it’s a small price to pay to be able to control the flavor of your own pickles and have as many as you want in a steady supply. You can even add more or less garlic, or spices to make hot pickles, and other ingredients as you go to figure out what works best for you. When you become a real expert (or close to it), you can also move on to pickling other vegetables in a similar way. Making your own pickles at home just got easier, so feel free to make as many jars as you need. You might even decide that you never want to go back to store bought pickles again.