Mexican cucumbers are easy to pickle. They stay crunchy, take on the flavours you add to the pickle and turn into bite-size nibbles, ready to go with any cuisine you imagine.
Basic pickling recipe
Wash the cucumbers. For a litre of pickling brine mix 500 ml white vinegar (or cider vinegar) and 500 ml water with 2.5 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until dissolved, add sugar and salt to your taste. Place whole cucumbers in sterilised preserving jars, add aromatics, cover with brine and close the lid. Place in a pot filled with as much water necessary to reach up two thirds the height of the jars. Cover pot with a lid and bring to the boil. Simmer on low heat for 40 minutes to preserve. Take the jars out of the pot and let them cool down.
Some flavour combinations that I’ve tried:
Add a thin slice of ginger, a couple of dashes of fishsauce, a kaffir lime leave, half a clove of garlic, a fresh Thai chili and a coriander root to each jar.
Add a sprig of tarragon, 1/2 a tsp each of coriander seeds, black pepper corns and fennel seeds and one star anise to each jar.
Add 4 slices of jalapeno, 1/2 a tsp each of cumin seeds, black pepper and coriander seeds and half a clove of garlic to each jar.
Mediterranean Herb Variations
Add a sprig each of thyme and oregano, half a bay-leave, half a clove of garlic and 1/2 a tsp of black pepper to each jar. Or use rosemary instead of thyme and oregano.
Complex Indian Flavours
Add 4 curry leaves, a pinch of fenugreek seeds, 1/2 a tsp each of coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds, half a clove of garlic and a bit of onion to each jar.
Add 1/2 a tsp each of allspice seeds and cumin seeds, half a clove of garlic and a quarter tsp worth of fresh scotch bonnet chili (or dare more) to each jar.
Add 1/2 a tsp each of black pepper seeds, white pepper seeds, pink pepper seeds, allspice, coriander seeds and 2 long peppers to each jar
Further ideas ….
On the list for next year’s experiments are definitely a Japanese version (play with kombu, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, tamari, perilla leaves) and a Chinese one (think ginger and green onion or all the master stock ingredients).