textile designer sharon spain‘s organic designs are hand printed and made of natural materials. so it didn’t surprise us that she submitted a homemade dill pickle recipe! i, like sharon, haven’t always been a pickle fan, but there must be something about the palate that changes with time. now i looove them. and before you think “well, who cares about a recipe for pickles??,” consider this pickle only part of your spread: sharon suggests enjoying them with crusty bread and cheese. matt and i, obliged, and we threw a little mustard up in it, and it was lunch for us! we promise if you offer these to your friends, they’ll be talking about your pickles to everyone. [photos: by matt armendariz, part of the series we shot for the in the kitchen with column at his wonderful studio in the LBC in mid december. thanks matt!] -kristina
about sharon: sharon spain is a bay area designer whose work includes hand-screened silk and hemp linen pillows, handbags, t-shirts, and a line of gift cards. her products are sold nationally, and are inspired by modernism, and forms and color from nature. in her other life as a writer and editor she has contributed to the recent publications Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900-1970 and Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970.
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These are easy, delicious and make terrific gifts. Be sure to buy cucumber pickles—not regular cucumbers. A small pickle of about four inches fits perfectly in a pint-sized mason jar. If you are not familiar with a mandolin, buy one for this project, and you won’t regret it. They are fabulous for slicing anything (just watch your fingers). Slice the pickles thinly, but not so thin that they become hard to work with. 1/8” is about right.
2 quarts water (1.9 liters)
1 quart cider vinegar (.95 liters)
3/4 cup canning salt (220g)
10 wide-mouth, pint mason jars
Approximately 25 pickles
2 bunches dill
1.Thoroughly wash jars and lids in hot water to sterilize.
2. Combine water, cider vinegar and salt in stockpot and bring to boil, stirring well.
3. Wash and trim ends from pickles.
4. Using a mandolin, carefully slice each pickle lengthwise. Stack pieces neatly in order, removing the two ends and place pickle in jar. Trim height of pickle as needed to fit. You should be able to get about 2 1/2 pickles in each pint jar. Place several pieces of dill in jar with pickles.
5. Pour hot vinegar/water solution over pickles filling jar to top. Screw lid down tightly.
The pickles can be eaten as soon as the next day, or can be stored in the refrigerator for months. Great with cheese on crusty bread!
Why Sharon chose this recipe:
I never understood what people saw in pickles. I was always picking them off sandwiches or transferring them to someone else’s plate. Then my friend Ethel’s step dad, Jim Schrupp offered me one of his homemade dill pickles, and I was a convert.