Tarragon cucumber pickles

AT A GLANCE

  • 8 grapevine leaves (optional)
  • 2 kg small cucumbers (about 8-10cm each)
  • Leaves from 4 celery stalks (optional)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 150 gm fresh horseradish, coarsely chopped, plus extra slices to infuse (optional)
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) tarragon, plus extra sprigs to infuse (optional)
  • 50 gm (¼ cup) yellow mustard seeds, plus extra to infuse
  • 125 gm (½ cup) fine sea salt
01   Lay half the grapevine leaves in a 3-litre sterilised jar or non-reactive container. Top with cucumbers, celery leaves, onion, horseradish, tarragon and mustard seeds, then top with remaining grapevine leaves. Stir salt and 500ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until dissolved, add 1.4 litres cold water and stir to combine, then pour over cucumbers to cover. Pour some of the remaining brine into a Ziploc bag, seal tightly and place on top of cucumbers to keep them submerged in the brine. Store in a warm place (about 22-25C) to ferment (2-3 weeks); by day 3 the liquid should be bubbling, and after 2-3 weeks the bubbling should have stopped and the cucumbers should be olive-green.
02   Drain brine into a large saucepan (reserve cucumbers) and bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, occasionally skimming scum from the surface, for 5 minutes. Pack cucumbers into sterilised jars and add extra horseradish, tarragon and mustard seeds to taste. Strain brine over to cover cucumbers, then seal jars and place in a stockpot lined with a tea towel. Add cold water to cover jars completely, bring to the boil and boil for 10-15 minutes. Leave jars in water to cool, then remove and store in a cool, dark place. Tarragon cucumber pickles will keep for a year.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Recipe:

RODNEY DUNN

Photography:

WILLIAM MEPPEM

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

Drinking Suggestion:

SLIGHTLY SOUR CLOUDY WHEAT BEER. , suggested by MAX ALLEN

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