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How to Pickle Japanese Cucumbers

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Curated With Gracey Lane invites the Culinary Gardener, Ellyse Briand, to show us how to pickle Japanese cucumbers with a spicy kick

PHOTOGRAPHY by
Jen Phillips
|
September 18, 2020
Ingredients
SERVINGS:
1 Quart
1 1-quart pickling jar
4 sliced Japanese cucumbers (about 4 cups to fill the jar)
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic
1 Sweet Heat pepper*
1–2 sprigs lemon verbena**
2 teaspoons mustard seed
4–6 allspice berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

We had the Culinary Gardener, Ellyse Briand join us at Gracey Lane Farm to share a quick pickling recipe perfect for preserving the summer’s Japanese cucumbers. We added homegrown Sweet Heat peppers and lemon verbena for a citrusy and spicy finish. 

This recipe also works with any variety of cucumbers and it’s perfect for pickling serrano peppers to serve with yellowtail sashimi like pro skateboarder Bucky Lasek.

INSTRUCTIONS

*Remove seeds to reduce spice level or keep some seeds for extra heat. Sweet Heat peppers can be substituted with any other seasonal or preferred pepper. 


**Substitute 3 to 4 1-inch strips of lemon zest if lemon verbena isn’t available. 


Soak cucumbers in an ice bath for at least 30 minutes to enhance pickle crunch. 


Heat vinegar and water in a small saucepan. Add sugar and salt to dissolve. Turn off heat and set aside to cool slightly. 


Smash garlic cloves but leave whole. Place garlic with mustard, allspice, and peppercorns, in the bottom of the pickling jar. 


Next, fill the jar halfway with a mix of sliced cucumbers and peppers. Fit sprigs of lemon verbena into the sides of the jar. Continue to add cucumber slices until 1-inch below the rim. 


Add brine to pickles and allow the jar to cool to room temperature on the counter. Keep refrigerated. Pickles are ready to eat immediately but best served after 24 hours.


Remove lemon verbena sprigs after 24 hours or they may become bitter and discolored.


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