a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
I take for granted how easy these little condiments are to make; so easy, in fact, that they hardly seem worth sharing as a recipe. Yet each time I make them, someone inevitably asks, “Will you send me the recipe?” So here you go, someone.
The method is simple. Slice up your favorite cucumber super thin and let the slices sit in salt for a bit. This time of year, experiment with any gorgeous cukes you find at the farmers market…I’ve seen some cool-looking white, lemon, and melon cucumbers here in Colorado. When it’s not cucumber harvest time, I like using the English cucumbers from the grocery store.
Then make a simple brine by simmering rice vinegar and water with a loose leaf tea blend of choice. Almost any tea will work to flavor these pickles, but I recommend a chai or other strongly spiced tea blend (bordering on spicy…think ginger, peppercorn, cardamom). Give the salted cucumber slices a quick rinse before covering them with brine and transferring them to the fridge for an overnight soak.
These beauties are a nice complement to a cheese plate. I love to throw them into grilled cheese sandwiches. They also make a unique topping for burgers, brats, or bowls of ramen.
Happy cooking and sipping!
Makes about 2 quarts
1 English (or other style) cucumber
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons loose leaf chai or other strongly spiced tea blend
1. Slice the cucumber into thin rounds and toss with salt. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Transfer to a colander or sieve and give the slices a quick rinse.
2. Bring the vinegar, water and tea blend to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Pack the cucumber slices into pint or half pint jars. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers, making sure all the slices are covered and making sure you get loose leaf tea into each jar. Let jars cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate.
4. Enjoy after 12 to 24 hours. Best within a week. Keep stored in the refrigerator.