Embarking on the journey of making your own pickles is an adventure that goes beyond the kitchen. It begins with a careful selection of cucumbers and herbs in your backyard. It culminates in the delightful experience of savoring your homemade pickles.
Here, we’ll give you tips on choosing what type of cucumber to grow and what else you should plant.
Choosing Your Cucumbers
The foundation of great pickles is, of course, the cucumbers. But not just any cucumber will do.
Kirby cucumbers are a popular choice for pickling because of their compact size and firm texture, making them ideal for fitting in jars and ensuring a classic crunchy bite.
Persian cucumbers are another excellent option, particularly for those who prefer a milder, slightly sweet flavor in their pickles. These cucumbers are known for their thin skin and minimal seeds.
For those looking for consistency in their pickling endeavors, Homemade Pickle cucumbers are the way to go. Yes, that’s the name of a type of cucumber; sometimes, “Southern” is tacked onto the beginning of the name. They are explicitly bred for pickling and offer uniform shape and size, guaranteeing evenly pickled results and a delightful crunch in every bite.
Companion Plants for Your Pickle Garden
A successful pickle garden is about more than just cucumbers. Companion planting is critical to enhancing the flavor of your pickles and maintaining a healthy garden.
Plants like dill are classic flavor companions for pickles and play an essential role in attracting beneficial insects and providing shade and support for cucumber vines.
Garlic is another excellent companion, adding depth to your pickle recipes while serving as a natural deterrent to pests.
For those who enjoy a bit of heat in their pickles, growing jalapeños or chili peppers is a great idea. Not only do they infuse your pickles with a hint of spice, but they also help deter pests and promote a healthy garden ecosystem.
Onions, too, are a fantastic addition, contributing to the overall flavor profile of your pickles and offering natural pest deterrence.
Let’s Get Pickling: Recipes and Variations
With your garden in full bloom, it’s time to experiment with pickling. Starting with a classic dill pickle recipe is a great way to begin. Personalizing this recipe with your homegrown herbs and spices can create a signature flavor profile unique to your garden. The world of bread-and-butter pickles offers a sweet and tangy exploration, where adding onions and a blend of spices can result in exciting flavor combinations. Incorporating homegrown hot peppers and garlic can create deliciously spicy garlic pickles for those who prefer their pickles with a bit of heat.
When your harvest is ready, jump over to our guide to making pickles!
Growing and pickling cucumbers is a gratifying and enriching experience that adds a personal touch to your culinary creations. Selecting cucumber varieties and cultivating companion plants elevates your pickling game. The possibilities, from classic dill pickles to spicy garlic variations, are endless.