A couple of weeks ago a man knocked on my door. He didn’t look like he was trying to sell me anything so I shoved my psycho dog in the guest room and actually opened the door to speak to him. He explained that he was friends with my landlords (who got a sweet job opportunity in Hawaii but didn’t want to sell the house, lucky for us) and around this time of year he always come to steal some grape leaves from the back yard.
Instead of just letting him find his own way in peace, I followed him into the back yard where our concord grape vine grows and barraged him with questions. Do you live in the area? Do you like our mini-garden? Sorry about my dog, do you have dogs? What do you do with the grape leaves?
It turns out that adding grape leaves into your homemade pickles helps to keep them crunchy! I resolved to make pickles that weekend. And I actually ended up making them about a month later.
These are the easiest things in the world, cost less than $1 per jar, and are, without a doubt, one of the most delicious things I have ever stuck in my mouth. They are refrigerator pickles so you don’t have to mess with the whole canning process and will still last a couple of months (maybe more?) if you happen to not devour them before then.
What you need:
- Jars (I used pint-sized ball jars because I had some, but literally any jar that won’t leak when upside down will do)
- Pickling cucumbers (you can get them at the farmer’s market right now for like $2 for 90 pounds….or something super cheap like that)
- Grape leaves (if you don’t have access you can just trim off the blossom end of the cucumber and that will help them stay crisp)
- White vinegar
- Distilled water
- Seasoning (I used dill, garlic scapes, and green onions)
What you do (these amounts are for pint jars):
- In each jar dump about 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of vinegar into the bottom.
- Put in your seasonings. I used about 4 dill stems, 1-2 garlic scapes (cloves would work just as well), and one green onion.
- Add the grape leaf around the side of the jar.
- Clean, cut up, and add your cucumbers. I did some round slices, some long slices, some spears, and some whole….all are amazing.
- Pour distilled water to the top of jar. Top with another dill stem if you like it really dill-y.
- Shake it up so salt and vinegar mix into everything.
- Keep out for 24 hours, then flip upside down and keep out for another 24 hours.
- They are ready and you can devour them or store them in the fridge for later use.
For real, go make them now. If you are a pickle lover you will never be able to eat store bought again. You’re welcome.