A couple of weeks ago, my Aunt Darlene called and told me she had a half-bushel of black eyed peas with my name on them. I can’t tell you how that thrilled me! My aunt and uncle used to have a fresh produce market for many years. My aunt and her family continue to plant a large garden each spring. I invited my mom and my brother and his family over for Sunday dinner because I know they enjoy black eyed peas as much as I do. The kids helped me shell them, and of course I cooked them with a little bacon for that added pork flavor.
Aunt Darlene threw a few “lemon cucumbers” in the bag of fresh peas for me. This is a variety they wanted to try. The outside of the cucumber is pale yellow and about the same size and shape of a lemon. I thought they might have a little bit of a tangy flavor, but the inside looked and tasted like most cucumbers. They were very good.
My mom mentioned a good recipe for pickles that she wants to give me and it got me to thinking about this one in the meantime. If you have cucumbers coming in good in your garden, make up several batches of these and share them with your friends. Or, if you like canning but don’t want to get into a big process, or only have a few cucumbers to put up, this is a great method. Leave out the pepper if you just prefer a nice dill flavor without the heat. I’ve been tinkering with the recipe, and this is how I best like it. Enjoy food made fresh!
Note: When I can’t get a hold of any pickling cucumbers, I have found 2 pound bags of small cucumbers at Sam’s Club year-round.
Refrigerator Spicy Pickles
3 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons dill seeds
4 cups hot water
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick, skin on
3/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and/or 2 to 3 whole fresh peppers if you prefer
Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, dill seeds and crushed red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves. Pack cucumbers, dill, garlic, and fresh peppers into airtight containers and completely cover with brine (liquid mixture). Refrigerate overnight; shake or stir once or twice. Store in refrigerator up to two weeks. Makes approximately 1 quart and 1 pint.