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Hilda’s Icebox Pickles

The pickles that made me like pickles

by Steven Satterfield

MY GRANDMOTHER, Hilda Duckworth, spent her entire life in Asheville, North Carolina. She was the best home cook I’ve ever known. Growing up, these were the pickles that made me like pickles. The only difference is that she used to peel the skin off, but I find the skin enjoyable if you use small pickling or Kirby cucumbers. Whenever my cousins or other family members come into Miller Union, they always ask for a plate of Hilda’s Icebox Pickles. Crisp, tangy, but not too sharp, they are completely addictive.

Fills a one-gallon container

  • 3 pounds pickling cucumbers, washed and quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved and cut into crescents
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper

In a gallon container, combine the salt, pepper, water, and vinegar. Stir briskly to dissolve the salt. Add the cucumbers, onions, and garlic, and then cover and refrigerate. Do not heat any of the ingredients. These are best after being allowed to sit for two days in the refrigerator. Enjoy them within two weeks’ time.

Steven Satterfield is the chef and co-owner of Miller Union restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia.