I feel silly that it’s taken me this long to try pickling – especially since my family has been pickling and storing things under the house for as long as l can remember.
The truth is, I love almost anything pickled – carrots, cauliflower, green tomatoes and especially cucumbers!
Given pickling vegetables is one of the only ways vegetables could be enjoyed during the cold European winter months, this age-old method is a village specialty. It’s resourcefulness at its best, as the pickling brine can be used to re-pickle a few times over.
The recipe, as I’m told by mum is Italian, however, it has been in the family for so many years that I reckon it could pass as Macedonian ;)
3 medium or 2 large cucumbers (use garden or Lebanese), washed and sliced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 small garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3 cups (750ml) water
1 cup (250ml) white vinegar
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 sprig Italian basil
1) Wash and dry cucumbers. Slice into thin rounds and layer in a clean 3 litre glass jar or airtight container. Sprinkle over peppercorns and sliced garlic.
2) In a large jug combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar and stir well until salt and sugar disolve. Pour over cucumbers in the jar and place basil sprig on top. Seal the jar or container and leave overnight at room temperature. In the morning place the cucumbers in the fridge for at least 2 days before serving.
3) Serve as a salad or an appetiser with a rakija, if you’re that way inclined.
- Once you have eaten the cucumbers, use the leftover brine to pickle other vegetables like carrots, cauliflower and green tomatoes.
- The cucumbers will keep for up to 1 month in the fridge, or if the jar is heat sealed cucumbers can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months (once opened, keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks).