Mother Earth Living

Quick Pickling: Garlic, Lemon, Peppercorns & Bay Pickles

Letitia L. Star is a healthy living writer who has written more than 1,100 published articles, including many cover stories for The Herb Companion, Mother Earth News (the Women’s Health issue), Natural Home & Garden, GRIT and other publications. She specializes in writing about healthy eating, recipe development, natural products, gardening, enviromental issues and green living for magazines and online marketing communications. She can be reached at or (847) 869-3775.

My favorite–and most popular–article that I have written for The Herb Companion  is “4 Recipes for Quick Pickles,” published in the September 2009 issue, with a follow-up quick-pickling blog posted in May 2010.

I would like to offer one more original quick pickling recipe showcasing garlic. You can make these pickles with cucumbers or a plethora of other fresh vegetables plucked from your own garden or farmers’ market, including summer squash, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, onions and more.

My original, quickly method takes only 10 to 20 minutes to assemble. Until traditionally canning methods, no special equipment is needed. Just use clean glass jars with lids. (This is a great way to reuse old pickle, olive or salsa jars.) Refrigerate and consume in about a week.

Photo by Howard Lee Puckett

Quick Herb Taste: Garlic, Lemon, Peppercorns & Bay Pickles

If you love garlic, this quick pickle recipe is for you. I prefer the strong, pungent taste of German or Russian garlics to make these refreshingly tangy, peppery pickles. This recipe also is a wonderful way get the most out of fresh lemons. Scrape out any of the white pulp of used lemons and thinly slice the peel into vertical strips. While black peppercorns are excellent, also consider red or white peppercorns or multi-color peppercorn mixes.

• 1 (16-ounce) clean glass jar
• 1 to 2 cups of sliced cucumbers 
• 2 to 4 fresh garlic cloves, crushed (more to taste) 
• 1 to 2 bay leaves 
• 3 to 4 sliced thinly-sliced lemon peels, preferably organic 
• 1/2 tablespoon freshly cracked peppercorns, or regular black pepper
• 1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon coarse kosher or sea salt 
• 1/3 cup cider vinegar 
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1. Peel and slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch round slices. In the clean jar, tightly pack cucumbers, garlic, lemon peels, cracked peppercorns until 3/4 full.

2. Combine vinegar, salt, lemon juice, peppercorns and bay leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and gently stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

3. Add 2/3 cup of cold water to this mixture and let cool. Carefully remove bay leaves and add to jar. Pour cooled liquid in jar to cover cucumbers, garlic, bay leaves and lemon peels. Add more cold water if needed. Leave room at the top.  

4. Refrigerate for about an hour until chilled. Your pickles are now ready to eat. Keep refrigerated and consume in about a week. (Don’t store on shelves.)

My Favorite Herb Suppliers

I buy culinary herbs for recipes and more from these four prized companies.

+ Mountain Rose Herbs
Frontier Natural Products Co-op
Monterey Bay Spice Company
San Francisco Herb & Natural Food Co.

  • Published on Aug 23, 2012
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