Be our guest for Happy Hour at Home, a small series about the joys of lesbian socializing from home, because let’s be honest with ourselves — we’re going to be here for a while.
I can’t give you my primary recipe for pickles, because it is not mine to give.
In March of last year, someone who had slid into my DMs the month before forwarded me an email that had been sent to her two years before. In it, her best friend detailed how to make simple but delicious pickles in just a couple of days. She confessed to me that she sometimes still grew impatient for the pickles and opened them a little too soon. She loves pickles. We have approximately four jars of them currently in the fridge in our shared home.
Her friend said he knew she was really into me when she told him she sent me the pickle recipe. Intimacy as pickling! Flirting with pickles!
If I had to predict the next quarantine kitchen trend, it’s probably going to be pickles. And I’ll tell you right now: They’re remarkably easier to make than fucking sourdough. (For the record, I do not begrudge anyone making sourdough right now—I am simply jealous, because I have proven [bread pun!] to be very bad at it.)
Pickling and canning are ideal at-home activities in that they are exactly that—an activity!—but then you also have a briny, tasty treat at the end of it and one that lasts a long time! Instead of giving you a plain ol’ traditional cucumber pickle recipe, I’m going to give you some tips for other kinds of pickles—many of which can be “quick pickled” and added to a plain pantry meal for a little more texture and depth.
Hot Dilly Beans
I have an uncle who moved to Vermont and swiftly became Very Vermont (think: making cheese, canning jam, watercoloring, etc), and one of my favorite things he makes and gives out are dilly beans a.k.a. pickled green beans. My favorite thing to do with them is to add them as a Bloody Mary garnish, but they’re also just good as a quick snack or on a cheese plate.
Just pack a bunch of fresh green beans (trim the ends if they aren’t trimmed already) into a glass jar along with a whole clove of garlic (or more!), two teaspoons of dill seeds or two sprigs of fresh dill, and a generous shake of red pepper flakes (for spicier, add a chopped serrano instead). In a pot, add equal parts vinegar and water (there should be enough liquid to cover the beans—for one small jar of beans that probably looks like about half a cup of water and half a cup of vinegar) and about one tablespoon of Kosher or pure sea salt per cup of liquid and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid over the green beans. Chill the jar in the fridge for at least two days before opening, but the sweet spot is right around five days.
Pickled red onions make everything better, but if you’re making tacos at home these days, this is absolutely something I recommend adding into the mix of toppings. It’s SO EASY AND FAST and doesn’t even require a heating element. It’s also something you can do if you have like half a red onion left over from something else. Thinly slice a red onion. In a bowl, whisk together enough apple cider vinegar to cover the onion slices, about a tablespoon of sugar per cup of vinegar, and one teaspoon of salt per cup of vinegar until everything dissolves. Put the onion in a sealable container and pour the liquid over it. Let sit on the counter for just 30 minutes and they’re ready to use. Let them sit a little longer if you want a more bitey flavor. And if you wanna save them for later, they keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Just drain excess liquid before use.
A Quick-Pickle Plate
Got some excess veggies you need to use up before they turn? A pickle plate is like the snappy, briny cousin of a cheese plate. Daikon, pickles, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, bell peppers, and mushrooms can all be quick-pickled for a colorful pickle plate. I love this recipe. Pro tip: Before serving, sprinkle it all with some feta or blue cheese crumbles or goat cheese.
And by all means, pls use your pickles to flirt.
Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. We will never put our site behind a paywall because we know how important it is to keep Autostraddle free. But that means we rely on the support of our A+ Members. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?