Is It Really Possible to Make Instant Pickles with a Syringe?

published Aug 12, 2015
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(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Love pickles, but don’t quite have the patience to make them yourself? I’ll admit that I fall into that boat.

What if there was a simple way to make homemade pickles in less than two minutes? It sounds a little too good to be true, and a little out there, since this process involves using a syringe. But that’s also why it made me even more excited to put this tip to the test to see if it actually works.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The Original Tip

The original tip, from Instructables, claims that with a syringe and your favorite pickling liquid, you can turn cucumbers into pickles in 30 seconds.

This process uses negative pressure to collapse the cell walls of the cucumber and break down the membranes, letting water out and the vinegar brine in.

Thinly sliced pickles are placed inside the syringe, then just enough brine is pulled in to cover the cucumbers. Placing your finger over the tip of the syringe creates a partial vacuum, which is what makes the cucumbers pick up the flavor of the brine.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The Testing Method

Like most people, I don’t just have large syringes sitting around the house, so the first step was tracking these down. I looked in a few pharmacies, but was unsuccessful, and eventually ordered them from Amazon.

I considered using traditional pickling liquid, but the version used in the original tip sounded a little more interesting, so I decided to give it a try. I mixed together white vinegar, sugar, salt, cumin, and turmeric.

I sliced the cucumbers, trying to keep them fairly thin, at no more than 1/4-inch thick, and cut each slice into quarters. Then I removed the back plunger of the syringe, loaded in a few cucumber pieces, and put the plunger back in.

I followed the original tip, and pulled just enough brine into the syringe so the cucumber pieces were covered. I placed my fingers over the tip of the syringe and pulled the top back, which took a little bit of strength. (This created a partial vacuum inside the syringe.) After holding it for about 30 seconds, I released the brine back into the glass, and repeated this step a couple more times.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The Results

After releasing the remaining liquid from the syringe, I removed the back plunger and emptied the (possibly) pickled cucumbers onto a plate. At first sight, the cucumber looked more translucent, like it had definitely absorbed a good amount of the brine. But the real question is, how did they taste?

After just a couple minutes (at most) in the brine, I had pickles! Wonderfully flavored, thinly sliced pickles — that came together in almost an instant. I was surprised at just how much flavor they picked up in such a short time.

Verdict: This is a mind-blowing test!

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Final Notes

There are a few things that are really key to making this work well. First: the size of the syringe. The bigger, the better. I used a one-ounce syringe, which worked just fine, although using a larger one would let you make larger pickle slices. It’s also important to keep the cucumbers sliced thin. For thicker slices, I recommend repeating the pickling process a couple extra times.

The syringes I bought came in a pack of 10. My first thought was, what on Earth am I going to do with nine other syringes? After completing this experiment, the answer is crystal-clear: I’m going to make more instant pickles!