Korean Pickles

This summer has flown by, hasn't it? It feels like just yesterday I was begging for sunshine strong enough to make me sweat and now I'm begging for fall foliage and cool breezes. One of the best things this sweaty summer has yielded is an incredible crop of cucumbers in our garden.

My sister will tell you that cucumbers are meant to be pickled so that's what I've been doing with them. For one of the batches, I made Korean-style pickles like my mom used to make. They're great because they're delicious with a sandwich but also pair well with a Korean meal of rice and banchan.
4 to 5 lbs. cucumbers
2 to 3 hot peppers
½ cup salt
¼ cup apple vinegar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
6 cups water

pickle side dish
1 Korean pickle
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 scallion, chopped

First, you'll need a couple of cucumbers. I used ones fresh from the garden that I scrubbed really well. If you've never grown cucumbers before, you might not know this but they have little sharp pimples that need to be scrubbed off (carefully) before they can be eaten.
To make the brine, pour salt, garlic cloves (with the peels on), vinegar, and water into a saucepan. Pop onto the hob over medium heat and bring to a boil.
While waiting for the brine to boil, arrange the cucumbers and hot peppers into a jar. I pierced the peppers to expose a bit more of the spicy flavor.
When the brine comes to a boil, all of the salt should have dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for five minutes.
Pour the still-warm brine over the pickles and then screw on the lid.
Leave the pickles at room temperature for 24 hours. Then, place the jar in the fridge and allow the cucumbers to finish pickling for 3 to 5 days, depending on your preference.
The pickles are ready when they've taken on an olive green tinge.
At this point, they can be enjoyed as is, or they can be massaged with some seasonings to make a Korean side dish.
To make the side dish, thinly slice the cucumbers and then squeeze out the excess moisture. Then, add in the seasonings, stir to combine, and it's done. Garnish with a few sesame seeds, if you're feeling fancy.
This stuff is so simple but so delicious. The saltiness of the pickles is great and pretty refreshing in the summer and I love how this easy banchan can quickly elevate a sad looking meal.
Here are the recipe pages:


  1. Yum! I've never had korean pickles before but it sounds amazing!



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