All of us have been talking about pantry food and fridge food during these days of lockdown. About how to make yummy things from what we have. Pickles are a great way to make something healthy that you can store in your pantry or fridge to pull out whenever in need of a crunchy, delicious side. These low carb pickled cucumbers with dill do the trick. Making them is easy, and then all you need is a bit of extra patience, as they will have to sit and marinate in their mason jar for a week, until they’re pickled and ready to eat.
By then, they will have become a beautiful extra snack or side to enjoy straight out of the fridge at our convenience, whenever we like. Serve your pickled cucumbers with a peanut dip, keto crisps or sandwiches, roasted fish or chicken legs or even a bbq, if you are lucky enough to have a yard. Pickled cucumbers are a staple in Germany’s summers, a must-take to picnics. One of our most famous brands is named after the area it comes from, the Spreewald, where little rivers criss-cross an amphibious landscape with large leafy forests, and where people still grow and pickle the famous cucumbers. I have yet to go there.
Anyhow, we can enjoy pickled cucumbers at home as well, right? Or make a picnic on the balcony/terrace/verandah.
Pickle recipes vary, with some asking for time to have your pickles sit in the fridge for a week or two to marinate, while quick-pickles can be ready after an hour. For most recipes, actually, both is true. The taste just gets stronger over time, the longer the veggies stay in the brine, as they have more time o absorb the flavour. How long you have them marinate depends a lot on your taste. I am keeping mine in a cool pantry or fridge for at least a week, more often for two.
Ingredients and Instructions 🥒
This recipe is the traditional German cucumber pickle recipe, with fresh dill, mustard seeds and whole pimento. In the summer, some well-stocked supermarkets have a corner where they sell all on one spot: A large basked filled with the special small cucumbers just ripe for pickling, the fresh dill and the spices. You can just grab it all in one go, without thinking.
At any rate, MAKING the pickles is easy and quick. It’s basically down to boiling vinegar or a vinegar-water mix and adding the spices suitable for the vegetable you’re about to pickle. Use white distilled vinegar, or apple cider vinegar for a slightly milder and “sweeter” taste. I personally do not add sweetener, but many people do. Recipes vary as well.
The first thing you need to do is to clean your mason jars with very hot water or disinfect them in the microwave. Allow them to dry completely.
Then, prepare your ingredients: wash and rinse the dill and cucumbers. Finely slice the shallot.
Now, you have to decide the level of acidity for your cucumbers. For the brine, use either just vinegar, or dilute it a little with water. That depends on your tolerance for an intense sour taste.
Pour vinegar or vinegar-water mixture into a small pot and bring it to the boil. Put down temperature, add salt and, if using, erythritol. Simmer quickly until both are dissolved. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.
Pack your mason jars tightly with cucumber sticks, add mustard seeds, allspice, onion and dill.
Once cool enough, slowly pour your brine over the cucumbers and spices. You should avoid having too much air in the mix. Swiftly close the lid of your jars. Put the jar/s into the fridge and have your cucumbers marinate for one to two seeks. Remember, the pickling taste will become stronger over time!
This is how they look after I just poured over the brine. I used white vinegar for this recipe so the brine itself looks just like clear water at this stage.
Caution: While for some vegetables, you cover them with hot brine, you should avoid that when pickling cucumber. It is important to let your brine cool down a bit to preserve as much of the green colour of the cucumbers as you can. My cucumbers changed colour a bit over the course of the marinating, as you can see on the images. I have left them to marinate in my dark cool pantry for two weeks, and with time, colour changes are more obvious. Still, their flavour stays fresh, and they stay impeccably crunchy!
Adding spice 🌶
The variation below adds chili to the brine, which is rather unusual in my home country as hot food is not common. The reason for my experiment was that here in China, where we live, whole pimento is not available. So I wanted to replace it with something else interesting and chose chilies! I actually love chilies and spice in many things, after all these years in Asia. So why not for pickled cucumbers?
The photo below was taken right after pouring the brine into the jars, so that the cucumbers are still nice and green to contrast the little red chili pieces. The brine is a little more yellow this time, as I used apple cider vinegar. So you can see the difference in appearance. By the way, these turned out just right and mildly spicy. Yum.
While I have pickled cucumbers, red cabbage and even ginger, I am still quite new to pickling my own veggies. If you’re eager to try pickling your favorite veg, check out ideas for all sorts of vegetables on minimalist baker or a couple cooks. The basic technique is always similar. If the recipes use sugar, just simply replace that with low carb sweetener or none at all.
Of course, you can experiment with your brine yourself as well – add whole peppercorns, pieces of garlic and ginger, other herbs or even Sichuan pepper. Let your imagination rule, and let us know when you come up with something crazy good.
It’s time for pickles! Make these easy traditional pickled cucumbers with dill, allow them to marinate for a week, and then enjoy them with a casual meal
For 1 large mason jar or 2 small jars
3 small cucumbers
2 cups white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 shallot, finely sliced
a few sprigs of fresh dill
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole pimento (optional)
1 dried chili, sliced and deseeded (optional)
sea salt to taste
- Clean your mason jars with very hot water or disinfect them in the microwave. Allow them to dry completely.
- Bring vinegar or vinegar-water mixture to the boil. Put down temperature, add salt and, if using, erythritol. Simmer quickly until both are dissolved. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.
- Chop your cucumbers into sticks or slices, and cut dill sprigs into smaller units. Tightly stuff them into your mason jar/jars. Add mustard seeds, pimento, onion and dill – or chili, if using.
- Once cool enough, slowly pour your brine over the cucumbers and spices. You should avoid having too much air in the mix. Swiftly close the lid of your jars.
- Put the jar/s into the fridge and have your cucumbers marinate for one to two seeks. Remember, the pickling taste will become stronger over time!
- If small cucumbers are not available, use 400-450g/14-16 oz of larger cucumbers (for recipe in original serving size)
- If you can’t get fresh dill, use dried dill instead. It will add a similar flavour to the brine. Caution: dried dill is more intense so be careful not to overdose if you’re not into a highly intense dill flavour.
- If you can’t get whole pimento, don’t worry – the recipe is perfectly fine without.
- Nutrition information is for the whole jar – so that means 2 jars as on the picture with the chillies, or a large one as on the image on the top of the blog.
- Category: low carb snacks
- Method: chop and pickle
- Cuisine: German
- Serving Size: 1 large mason jar
- Calories: 31
- Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 6.6g net carbs
- Protein: 1.4g
Keywords: pickled cucumbers