With the end of summer not too far off, it’s time we start planning our graceful exit strategy, for me this usually includes preserving as much of the summer flavors as possible. Besides preserving fresh herbs in olive oil, I find quick pickled veggies to be an excellent way to hang on to the tasty abundance of summer, just a little bit longer.
Sure, canning, fermentation and other more long-term storage options are always available, but this is a super quick method, that you can throw together in a mere 15 or 20 minutes. No mess and no fuss.
Choosing Your Vegetables:
I always suggest opting for organic produce, whenever possible, especially when pickling, preserving and fermenting. Organic or not, you will want to thoroughly wash your vegetables. Crisp, fresh, firm vegetables fair best for pickling. Over ripe, veggies with soft or mushy spots or veggies that have sat around a bit too long, these are not so great, they end up soggy and weird. Some of my personal favorites for pickling are cucumbers (specifically gherkins), asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, peppers, beets, garlic scapes and turnips.
I recommend equal parts vinegar to water. From there I recommend equal parts sea salt to sugar (or other sweetener), I suggest about 2 tablespoons of each, per 1 quart of total liquid. The sugar is definitely optional, though I find it’s a wonderful compliment to the salty, tartness. You can opt for honey, granulated coconut sugar, date sugar, maple sugar, monk fruit, etc. Though, I generally just go with straight up organic sucanat, which is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice. Below, I will share my standard spice and herb blend that I use for almost all of quick pickled veggies – but know that this is highly customizable, with many, many variations, depending on your taste preferences, the veggies you are pickling and so on. When selecting your vinegar, again there are many options and it depends on what you are going for. I tend to usually opt for regular distilled vinegar or sometimes, for an additional layer of flavor, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
Select your vegetables and be sure to wash them well. I can’t back this up by research, but I have found, the prettier the veggie, the better the pickle! Just sayin’.
In a saucepan on the stove, heat your pickling liquid and whatever spices you are using. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the liquid into the jars over the veggies, submerging them completely. Be sure to distribute the spices evenly amongst the jars. Leave about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch space between the top of the liquid and the lid. Cover with the lid and allow on cool on the counter for a couple hours before placing the fridge.
Your pickled vegetables will be ready to eat the next day, but they will have even more flavor after a couple of days.
- enough fresh, raw vegetables to fill 2 quart-sized jars
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups vinegar (white distilled, apple cider, red wine, etc)
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 6-8 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- Few sprigs fresh dill ( optional) or other herbs
- Other optional additions: thinly sliced onion, shallots, whole cloves, mustard seeds, dill seeds, whole allspice, fresh ginger slices, fresh chilies or chili flakes, celery seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, star anise, other fresh herbs.
- Clean your vegetables really well. Slice, cut into quarters or spears or you can leave whole, depending on their size.
- Add the veggies into two quart-sized jars, layering with any fresh herbs, garlic, onion or shallots.
- Meanwhile in a saucepan on the stove add the remaining ingredients, vinegar, water, sea salt, sugar, spices and herbs, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- With a funnel, or carefully pouring, add the hot liquid to the jars, completely submerging the vegetables. Be sure to distribute the spices evenly amongst the jars. You may have to push them down with a spoon. Be sure to leave ¼ to ½-inch of room at the top between the lid and the liquid.
- Place the covers on the jars and let cool at room temperature on the counter for a couple of hours, before moving to the fridge.
- They taste great after about 12 hours in the fridge, but even better after a couple of days. These will keep up to 3-4 weeks.