Quicky Picky

There are three main ways to preserve vegetables: Pickling, Canning, and Fermentation as with what is done with sauerkraut. For the purpose of this blog I am only going to talk about quick pickling.

Quick pickles are not as deeply flavored as fermented pickles but are excellent when used for salads, sandwiches and just general snacking. The biggest advantage is that they are fully flavored and ready to enjoy from twenty minutes to a few days spent in the brine.

First let me explain what quick pickles are. Their common name is refrigerator pickles. They are simply vegetables that are pickled in a vinegar, water, and salt (sometimes sugar, too) solution and stored in the refrigerator. Quick pickles also do not require canning when refrigerated.

Pickling is best done with super-fresh vegetables. Save the slightly bruised specimens for soups or other forms of preservation. Almost any vegetable can be pickled, and the shape you choose to pickle in is entirely up to you. For example, carrots can be peeled and sliced into matchsticks or coins. Cherry tomatoes are best preserved whole. Green vegetables, such as green beans or asparagus, can be blanched in boiling water for two to three minutes and then shocked in an ice bath to preserve their color, but this step is purely optional.

Most of my pickling is done for carrots and daikon radish combination for the Vietnamese sandwich, bahn mi. Carrots alone make a very good substitute for sauerkraut on corned beef sandwiches. Cucumbers are next make a very good bread and butter pickle by the addition of pickling spices and garlic. I will be adding some horseradish to the mix next time.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced vegetables (such as carrot, red onion, and/or cucumber)
  • Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vegetables and let sit, squeezing gently with your hands occasionally to help them pickle more quickly, 10 minutes.

The pickles will last three months or more in the refrigerator. Hope you will try these. An economical way to enjoy pickles for a fraction of the cost of buying them pre-made in the store.

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