Cucumbers for a quarter. Red onions for less than 50 cents a pound. Farmers' market produce at its best. Time for some quick and inexpensive pickles.
The vinegar in the brine will keep the red onions bright, though these should be eaten fresh, as a few days will start to see some color bleeding into the brine itself. Still, a fast side dish just right with summer sandwiches or hot dogs or brats. You just have to plan ahead a few hours (or overnight) to make sure the flavors blend well--though tasters have been known to snack on more than a few even before these have chilled!
Red Onion and Cucumber Pickles
1 large or several small cucumbers (about 3 cups sliced)
1 medium to large red onion, cut in thin rings
1 c sugar
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 to 2 T salt--if using regular salt, go on the low side; pickling or kosher salt will need a bit more
dill seed OR fresh dill--about 1 to 2 t seed, several sprigs of dill
1. Combine the sugar, vinegar, salt and dill seed, if used, in a small saucepan. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and salt. (This will require a bit of stirring, as they do not dissolve as well in vinegar as in water.) Bring to a rolling boil and remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile slice the cucumbers and onions. Place in a shallow dish, evenly distributing the two vegetables. Layer with fresh dill if this is being used.
3. Pour the very hot vinegar solution over the vegetables. Press down to cover the onions and cucumbers as much as possible with the brine.
4. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. If desired, stir after a few hours to be sure that all of the vegetables are well soaked in the brine.
HINT: A little of the leftover brine is good added to your favorite cole slaw recipe.