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Quick Pickling 101

August 8, 2013

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As summer begins to come to a close, it’s time to break out the mason jars and pickle all of the produce in sight!  Pickling doesn’t have to be a long process, and it certainly doesn’t need to be reserved just for cucumbers. If you’re a pickle fanatic, then you’ll love this guide for quick pickling that will leave you with summer’s finest flavors well into autumn. 

What You Need:

  • 2 quart size Mason Jars with canning lids and rings
  • 2 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • About 2 or 3 pounds of your favorite vegetables or fruit
  • Your choice of seasonings
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Dash of fresh pepper 

Choosing Your Flavor Combinations

This is the hardest part of quick pickling - choosing what to pickle! You can pickle most types of vegetables and many fruits, too. Just cut them into small enough pieces to fit into a jar, and then add a few spices and seasonings in with it. Here are a few flavor combinations that you could try out:

Classic dill pickles – Sliced cucumbers, fresh dill and whole peppercorns

Lemon cucumbers –Sliced lemon cucumbers, fresh lemon slices, fresh coriander

Watermelon – Watermelon chunks and fresh basil leaves

Giardiniera – Chopped onions, carrots, cauliflower, olives and red pepper flakes

Spicy tomatoes – Whole cherry tomatoes, jalapeno slices, and fresh cilantro

Carrots – Small peeled carrots, bay leaf, and fresh dill 

How to Quick Pickle

Quick pickling takes very little time and equipment, and the finished product can be stored in the refrigerator and enjoyed for about a month.

Step One – Pack Your Jars

Fill your jars with your choice of vegetables and seasonings. The jar should be about three-quarters full of vegetables, with just a few of your spices and seasonings mixed in or placed around the vegetables against the inside walls of the jar.

Step Two – Prepare your Brine

In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper, and then bring to a boil.  Once the sugar has dissolved and the brine has come to a boil, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Pour the brine into your prepared jars, making sure to cover the vegetables completely. Leave the jars open and let them cool before sealing the jars with lids.

Step Three – Let the Flavors Blend

Once the jars are cool, place the lids tightly on top, then store in the refrigerator to let the brine pickle the vegetables for at least 4 days before you eat them. Once they are brined, they are safe to keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Step Four – Eat Up!

These homemade pickles make great gifts and are an excellent addition to any sandwich or cheese platter. Enjoy your homemade pickles!

For more information and flavoring ideas, check out this article from Food 52. What are you going to pickle this month?