These juniper pickles are mad delicious, and we will get to them I promise. But more importantly..
Last night we saw Lorde in Boston. Safe to say neither myself nor my voicebox will ever be the same again. To be in an arena where upwards of 20,000 humans are all belting the same song, fixated on the same magnificent young woman giving a show of a lifetime. When the music is so loud you feel it echoing in your bones, and you jump up and down so much that you maybe peed a little.
Being able to see Lorde — an artist that has been a major and constant soundtrack to my twenties — was a hypnotizing, surreal spark of a dream. Experiences of music and food share a common thread. Even after the stadium has emptied, the bill has been paid and the dishes been washed, these highly sensatory memories remain. That is indeed a magical thing for which I am most grateful — and certainly an enormous factor in my continuing love-affair with all things food.
Anyhoo these pickles! Which maybe I should rename Lorde’s Pickles? Clearly she has overtaken this delivery. These are a chirpy, sprightly pickle. They make you want to picnic in the sheep-filled pastures of the Icelandic countryside. (If you can’t make it to Iceland, another hillside will suffice.) Blame the juniper berries. They smell like an enchanted forest.
These are simple refrigerator pickles — my favorite kind to make because they are the easiest. Boil a brine, pour over cucumbers, refrigerate. Done, son. Bread, good butter, pickles and a sharp cheese is one of the simplest, most satisfying of snacks. Or get fancy and add these along with Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese to your next charcuterie board and make everybody do happy dances. Then all you need is some Lorde tunes crooning in the background to make your night complete.
- 2 LB small pickling cucumbers 8-10
- 8 garlic cloves
- 4 TB juniper berries
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (may sub whole peppercorns)
- 1 tsp coriander seeds (may sub mustard seeds)
- 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 TB kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
Rinse cucumbers, then slice lengthwise into quarters. Fit snugly into two quart-sized mason jars.
In a mortar and pestle or with the flat of your knife, gently crush the juniper, fennel, and coriander.
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and toast the berries and seeds a few minutes until fragrant. Then add everything else to the pot (except for the cukes).
Bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and let the brine sit for ten minutes.
Carefully pour the brine into the two jars, trying to get an even amount of garlic and spices into each.
Once slightly cooled, move jars to the fridge and let sit overnight. (You can certainly go at them sooner but they will be more like marinated cukes than a puckery pickle.)
- Find juniper berries online, Penzeys has great quality.
- Bruising and toasting the aromatics is an extra step but really brings their flavors to the fore.
- As it goes with pickles, these will get stronger and spicier over time.