An innovate approach to small-batch preserving!
I have been having a lot of fun playing around with my sous-vide wand the past couple of years and can attest to how well it works to cook meat, fish and vegetables to perfection. It never occurred to me to try using it to make pickles, until I heard the topic being discussed on a radio show. Well, naturally, I had to give it a try, and I have to say I am impressed. The pickles came out more flavourful and crisper than ones where hot brine is poured over the prepared cucumbers, likely because the controlled temperature meant the cucumbers were gently poached in the not-boiling brine. I also loved that they didn’t need extra time to sit and pickle – once cooled, they were ready to eat! I recommend using a wide-mouth canning jar for this recipe. For more easy pickle ideas (no sous-vide wand required), check out this great recipe roundup.
- 1 cup (250 mL) rice, cider or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) water
- 1/2 cup (115 g) white sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) black peppercorns
- Few pinches dried red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 4-5 small Lebanese/Persian or 8 – 10 pickling cucumbers
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1 head fresh dill (seeds)
- Use your sous-vide wand to preheat a large pot or container of water to 190°F.
- In a saucepan placed over medium heat, combine the vinegar, water sugar, salt, peppercorns and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. When dissolved, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature (transfer to a container and put in fridge to speed things up, if you like).
- Cut the blossom and stem ends off the cucumbers then slice into spears, trimming for length if needed so they will fit into your selected jar.
- Place the cucumbers and garlic in a sous-vide safe zippered plastic bag. Add the cooled brine and seal the bag using the water displacement method.
- Insert the bag into the preheated water bath and let cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bag from the water bath and place into a sink of ice water to cool.
- Transfer the pickles and enough brine to cover completely into a canning jar that has the dill head in it (or other airtight container) and refrigerate. I found it easiest to do this by removing the cooled spears and placing them on a plate. I laid the canning jar on its side and packed the spears and garlic in around the dill, then covered with brine.
- The pickles can be eaten immediately and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
Makes 1 jar.