I once wrote that Latvians would pickle, marinate or otherwise preserve anything that grows (or breathes). While summer is in full bloom and gardens and markets full of fresh produce, Latvians just can’t help themselves and insist on pickling small, crunchy cucumbers. Most books would mark them as for “immediate consumption”. “Immediate” is the key word here: they are so delicious that they will not last for long, and, trust me, they can be consumed immediately after marinade cools down (my favourite way, try it!)
- 1 kg small cucumbers
- 1 bunch of dill
- 1 clove of garlic
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1l water
- Wash cucumbers and dill.
- Place garlic, peppercorns, half of dill in the bottom of a large, heatproof jar.
- Place cucumbers in the jar alternatively with the rest of the dill.
- Add sugar and salt to the water and bring to the boil, then pour the hot liquid in the jar. Cover the jar (no need to seal).
- Cucumbers are ready to eat once the marinade has cooled down.
You can add blackcurrant and cherry leaves to the jar for extra flavour. Larger cucumbers (like Lebanese cucumbers) will also work for this recipe. If cucumbers are very thick, cut them in half lengthways. Garlic and peppercorns are optional. You may need to adjust the volume of liquid, depending on the size and shape of the jar and cucumbers. Just keep the proportion of salt and sugar, it will turn out well. Recipe works best with simple cooking salt (not sea salt).