I am not a bubbe — and hope not to be for a long time. But I do make pickles, and imagine they’re not very different from the ones my grandmother might have made — though she probably would have stuck with cucumbers, which you can do if you wish.
I like to pickle whatever I find in my vegetable drawer.
Here’s the recipe, adapted from my friend Ted Allen’s cookbook “In My Kitchen.”
Unless you decide to go through the process of sterilizing jars, these pickles are meant to be kept in the refrigerator and used within about a month.
For the brine
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups white or rice vinegar
6 teaspoons kosher salt
Several sprigs of fresh dill
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon pink peppercorns
For the vegetables
6 Kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise or sliced into ovals, depending on your preference
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
A handful of green beans
4 small hot red chiles or jalapenos (the more you slice them, the hotter they’ll make all the pickles)
4 tomatillos, cut into quarters
A pint or so of okra, stalk trimmed
1) In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the garlic. Cook for five minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Remove from the heat.
2) In 2 clean, 1-quart mason jars or several smaller ones, place a few sprigs of dill. Divide the seeds and peppercorns among the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and divide among jars. Then pack the jars full of the vegetables, either mixing them up or making one jar of, say, okra pickles and another of carrots. (If going the monochromatic route, consider adding one hot peppers or vegetable of another color for a little shock of contrast.) Pack the vegetables in tightly.
3) Bring the brine back to a boil (this is important), pour it over the vegetables to cover completely (also important), cover, let cool, and refrigerate. The pickles will start to taste good in a few hours but will be better after a couple of days.
Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter, @LifeDeathDinner. This recipe first appeared on her personal blog Life, Death & Dinner.