How to make: Bread & Butter Cucumber Pickles

One of the best things about summer are the holidays, that time off to experiment in the kitchen, to try new recipes, source seasonal produce and get back to basics. Cucumbers are abundant during summer and are a great excuse to master those pickling skills.

For this recipe, I am using one of my favourite picklers and seasonal produce embracers, Cornersmith, located in Annandale in Sydney's inner west. The team not only have a complete functioning cafe full of healthy and flavour rich menu items but also run regular pickling/ fermenting classes. Find out more here

Truly embracing the whole concept of finding what is in season and making the most of it, their cookbook is a great starting point for anyone who is looking at getting into the preserving/ pickling business. It can be purchased from here

If you are lucky enough to be able to grow your own cucumbers at home, put some aside, however, check out your local greengrocer, farmers market or even online crop swap communities.

This recipe is uncomplicated and requires a few second-hand glass jars and some hands-on kitchen action. The process is one which is equally involved, yet rewarding.

Ingredients

You will need

6 sterilised jars (375ml)

2 kg Lebanese cucumbers

2 tbsp salt

1 litre white wine vinegar

1 cup caster sugar

½ tsp turmeric

2 small brown onions, thinly sliced

3 tsp brown mustard seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 tsp dill seeds

12–18 black peppercorns

2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Tips of fresh bunch of dill (optional)

Method

1- Slice the cucumbers thinly and cover with the salt. Leave for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. The larger the cucumbers, the longer it will take for all the excess liquid to be drained. Transfer to a large colander and drain.

2. Make sure that your jars are sterilized.

3. Start making the brine by combining the vinegar, sugar, turmeric and 500ml of water into a non-reactive saucepan, simmering over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat, bringing the mixture to the boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat.

4. Once the cucumbers are thoroughly drained transfer them into a large bowl and combine with the onions, mustard, fennel and dill seeds and chilli flakes (if using). I also like to add fresh dill tips to give it that extra flavour but this is optional. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

5. Ensure that the sterilised jars are cool enough to handle, then start packing the jars with clean hands or tongs with the cucumbers. The jars should be packed but not overcrowded, allowing enough room for the liquid to fill the jar. Place 2-3 peppercorns inside each jar.

6. Carefully pour in the hot brine mixture into the jars until the cucumbers are completely covered. Gently tap the jars on the work surface to ensure all the air pockets and bubbles are removed. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and make sure there is a 1cm gap from the top of the jar to where the liquid starts to fill.

7. Seal the jars with the lids and start the heat process by placing a tea towel in the bottom of a large saucepan filled with water. Place the jars inside the saucepan; the water should come up to 3/4 of the way up the jars and make sure they are not touching each other. Bring to the boil for ten minutes. Allow to cool; then store in cool dark place. These pickles will keep for up to 12months but will, however, lose their crunchiness after 6months.

Have you got some favourite pickle recipes? Please share your suggestions and recipes in the comments below

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