Pickling. It’s Not Just for Pickles!
Canning and gardening are two activities that often go hand in hand. Once your garden kicks into high gear, you’ll inevitably find yourself in a bit of a pickle with a surplus of fresh produce.
There are several techniques for preserving your vegetables. You can use traditional methods such as water bath canning or pressure canning. Using the “quick pickle” method will give you a delicious snack but the shelf life is drastically shorter compared to traditional canning.
For the sake of simplicity and fast results, going the route of quick pickling will deliver in both taste and time management. You will need your vegetable or fruit of choice, heat safe containers like mason jars, and basic ingredients to make the brine.
Start by prepping your vegetables and vessels
Ensure that the produce is freshly picked, cleaned thoroughly and blemish free. Trim any stems and remove hard outer skins too. Consider what you are pickling and what may need more prepping. For example, red onions can be thinly sliced whereas carrots may need to be cut into sticks. Peppers can be sliced and deseeded or left whole.
Make sure your jars or other storage containers are ready for action by cleaning them thoroughly and ensuring they have properly fitting lids.
How to make the brine
Make your brine using four basic ingredients: vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.
Step it up by adding more flavor with herbs and spices such as peppercorns, dill, garlic cloves, etc.
You can find plenty of brine recipes on the internet, at the library or by reaching out to local organizations that offer food perseveration education.
Here is one recipe that keeps it simple while allowing for some room to play with different flavor profiles.
Combine ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir often until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat once fully combined.
Once your brine is ready, carefully pour it into jars packed with your prepped veggies, just enough to brine to cover them.
Allow the contents to cool to room temperature before putting lids on and placing in the fridge. After a few hours, your creations should be pickled to perfection. As time passes, the flavor will deepen and intensify. Be sure to enjoy your pickled treats within one to two weeks.