Smoked spices take pickles to a whole new flavor level, lending a smoky note to the pickling liquid. In this recipe, curry powder and spices smoked on the stovetop make for unforgettable cucumber and strawberry pickles.
Rinse cucumbers and strawberries well with cold water. Trim ends then cut cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick slices. Hull strawberries then halved lengthwise. Place cucumbers, strawberries and onion in large glass bowl. Set aside.
Mix remaining ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly. Pour over cucumber mixture.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
To smoke spices: Spread 1 cup fine mesquite wood chips in cast-iron skillet. Heat on high heat about 10 minutes or until wood chips start to smoke. Reduce heat to low. Place small baking rack on top of wood chips. Spread seasonings in small shallow disposable aluminum pan or foil muffin baking cup. Place pan on rack. Cover skillet with lid. (In order to keep the smoke in, lid should cover skillet tightly. If necessary, place aluminum foil over skillet first then cover with lid.) Smoke 30 minutes. Turn heat off. Let stand 1 hour or until cooled.
Storage Tip: Store pickles in covered glass bowl or jars in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.