Here in Charleston we have this amazing finger-licking, chicken-frying kind of restaurant called Jestine’s Kitchen. Have you been there? So so good, and Jason and I used to go quite often (before the kiddo combo). Jason always ordered the pecan-crusted chicken, and I always got the the peach and berry cobbler (for dessert). But we both looked forward to the icebox pickles. A ramekin overflowing with cucumbers, onion, and peppercorns are brought to the table as soon as you sit down, and they’re crisp, and just barely sweet with a little bite.
Jason and I tried to figure out the recipe for a while. But these aren’t traditional pickles. They aren’t made in a typical pickle way with soaking, sterilizing, boiling, and sealing. They’re deceptively simple, and that makes them tricky. So I’m giving you the recipe that I like to think is perfected, and you can thank me later.
Jestine’s Icebox Pickles
Cucumbers (You can use pickling cucumbers or normal cucs. I used three big cucumbers from John’s Island next door, of course.)
Onion (Sweet is best, but in my local quest here I used a red onion.)
3/4 c of Sugar
Peppercorns (How much is up to you.)
Peel and slice your cucumbers. I leave a little of the peel on for color, and I like thicker pickles, but slice them however you like best. Slice your onion too. Combine cucumbers, onion, and peppercorns in a bowl. Now add your sugar and mix well. If you like your pickles sweeter use all the sugar, or if more tart pickles are your thing, then use less sugar. Mix everything well.
Fill some clean jars with the cucumber mixture. Make sure they’re mostly full and that there is plenty of onion, peppercorn, sugar, and cucumber in each jar. My three large cucumbers filled four pint Ball jars. Now fill the jars half the rest of the way with the vinegar and the rest of the way with water. Seal the jars, shake them a little to make sure the liquid coats everything well.
Refrigerate the jars for at least 24 hours before eating. They will get mushy after a while (like a week or two) in the fridge, but they never last very long in my house. (We at 1 1/2 jars just today at lunch.) We eat them instead of chips, on sandwiches, as snacks, anytime. They are so so good.