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These are really good, and worth the effort to make them. Definitely add the vanilla and fennel, makes all the difference in the world. I like them with a sandwich, and I usually don't like sweet pickles.
I tried this recipe with a tiny batch of homegrown cukes. I couldn't get my act together to do all the water changes, syrup changes on time. I let them sit 24 hours or even a day and a half at each step and it didn't affect the final flavor. Am trying another small batch and will try to stay closer the timing in the recipe to see if that affects the texture. I suspect it won't. These taste and have very similar texture to store bought gherkins if you use both the fennel and vanilla.
I was drawn to this recipe by the interesting combination of fennel seeds and vanilla extract in the ingredients. This recipe did not disappoint. The result is a lovely sweet crunchy pickle. Although this recipe took 4 days from start to finish, it was not as bad as that actually sounds. Many of the steps are simple, and take very little time. As an added bonus, my house was filled with a marvelous pickling smell right out of my childhood, which made me smile. I guess the most "fiddley" step was pricking all of the small cucumbers with a fork. These will get me through the winter along side a grilled cheese sandwich or next to a rustic pate. Thanks for a great recipe Jockey.