Summer Half Sour Refrigerator Pickles
Half sour pickles are your basic kosher dill style pickles except the brine contains no vinegar. They are a delicious alternative to a regular pickle and have a much more refreshing, lively flavor.
Pickling is much easier than most people perceive it to be. If you do not need to store your pickles long term, you can entirely skip the fastidious elements of canning. In the two restaurants I have worked at which heavily feature pickles, the veggies are placed in brine, stored in refrigeration and consumed within a week or two. You really don’t need an unrefrigerated fermentation period to make tasty pickles. If you are a fellow pickle lover, I imagine eating them within a couple weeks will not be a problem.
For this pickle, a standard summer cucumber is great. Cut the cucumber in spears, bread and butter style or leave them whole (which will take longer to pickle). Pack them into a mason jar, try your best to stuff the jar as tight as possible without smashing the cucumbers.
For the brine, assemble your spices, herbs and aromatics. For this pickle I used roughly 4 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon each of mustard seed, red pepper flake and whole black peppercorns and a pinch of sugar. Salt should be added to taste, roughly 1/4 cup to each quart. If you enjoy pickles you’ll know when it’s right. Fresh dill, bay leaves, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, or cloves are some other potential additions. Turmeric (in small doses) is also a great addition to pickles, it adds flavor and crunch although I personally wouldn’t throw it into a half sour.
Toast the peppercorns (and bay leaves if you are using them) in a small skillet. They will release a lemon-pepper fragrance once they start to release their oils.
Add the toasted peppercorns into a sauce pot along with the rest of the seasonings and however much water is required to fill up the jar of cucumbers (likely around 2 cups). Stir the salt and sugar into the water then heat the mixture up to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil let it sit for a minute or so.
Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers in the jar. Try to fill it as much as possible so there are no pieces of cucumber sticking out of the liquid. Let the jar cool uncovered on your counter for a couple minutes then let it cool a little while longer in the fridge before screwing the cap back on.
Let the pickles sit for at least a day then enjoy!