Need some last minute gifts but have no time to shop? Instead of dragging your kids to the mall, get them into the kitchen and cook some gifts. The beauty of giving a food gift is that it will never be the wrong size. You don’t have to wait in long lines to pay for it and there are never any shipping costs.
This year we decided to try our hand at pickling and make some jars of sweet pickles. In our house we call them pickle chips but the traditional name is bread and butter pickles. They are delicious on a sandwich or burger, but just as good straight from the jar.
Making pickles is surprisingly easy, although it may take a few attempts until you get just the right spice level for your taste. Our first attempts were a little too vinegary but after we had perfected the recipe, our pickles tasted as good as the Pickle Man at our local farmer’s market. (well, almost…)
All you need to get started is a few simple ingredients, small glass jars, labels and ribbon to dress up your gifts. We opted for a very kid-friendly, not so spicy pickle but there are so many spices that work well in this recipe; celery seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, or coriander seeds just to name a few. Experiment with a variety of combinations to see what works for you.
Sweet Pickles Chips
Note: Recipe yields about 2 small jars of pickles
6 mini or 2 regular size cucumbers
2 Tsp Kosher salt
1 1/4 cup water
3/4-cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
Wash cucumbers thoroughly and pat dry. Cut cucumbers into coins, 1/8 thick.
Place sliced pickles into a colander. Sprinkle with the salt and toss to evenly coat. Place the colander over a bowl and let sit in refrigerator for about an hour. Rinse off the salt and pat the cucumbers dry. Place the slices in your jars and set aside.
In a small saucepan add the water, vinegar, sugar and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and allow the brine to cool. Pour over the cucumbers in jar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Note: Unless you are sterilizing your jars and following proper canning procedures these pickles are only good for up to 2 weeks, and must be kept refrigerated.
And the VERDICT is:
Matthew (age 6): “Much better than our first batch! Not as good as Pickle Man”
Liam (age 4): “Too spicy, don’t like these little balls”
Dylan (age 4): “I l sure do love these pickles”