I’m not sure this goes here, but…well…here goes…
When I was young(er…much young-er), one of my mom’s favorite side dishes was sliced cucumbers in white vinegar. She made it by peeling and slicing cucumbers and dousing them with vinegar. Maybe a little salt and black pepper. Her prep would last a few days in the fridge and get eaten up.
A few years ago, I thought to somewhat recreate that dish and picked up a handful of smallish “pickling cucumbers”, which I sliced unpeeled and added to a mason jar along with a dried habanero and some S&P, and a couple of peeled garlic cloves. I filled the jar with vinegar about two-thirds to the top of the vegetables and finished off with water. Twisted on the lid and shook the bejeezus out of it to dissolve the salt. (I used a lot of salt but I’m an unrepentant and unapologetic salt-aholic, so it worked out fine for me.)
What I got was a great tasting, long lasting, hot pickle. I’ve done it dozens of times since and have made numerous variations on the theme with different herbs and spices, (dill, mustard seed, coriander seed, Szechuan peppercorns, etc.). I’ve used the same method to make jalapeno and carrot escabeche, pickled peppers of all kinds, okra, green beans, (which make a great Bloody Mary garnish!), and maybe a few other things.
I don’t use heat, I don’t sterlize my jars and I don’t expect it to be shelf stable, but I apparently by sheer luck found a combination of salt and vinegar that retards the growth of any nasties and produces a really good tasting product.
I now use a very fine grained pickling salt that dissolves easily, I use a variety of vinegars and I’ve never had a single batch of anything last long enough to go bad. In fact, I have a year old jar of red habanero slices that gets better every time I open it.
I don’t intend this to be a tutorial. I don’t suggest you try to duplicate it, and I’m not at all sure this belongs on a board about “Fermented Food”. But damned if I don’t make some excellent “pickles”.