You started a garden this year and you’ve been mildly successful, which means right about now you are inundated with the likes of fresh peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and squash. You don’t want all that hard work to go to waste. So why not turn some of that bounty into pickles?
Making vegetables into quick pickles is much easier than proper canning, and less intimidating, but they won’t last quite as long. But properly stored, quick pickles can still last up to few weeks in the fridge.
The best part about making pickles is that you can easily experiment with different herbs and spices and make them however you want. And just about any fresh vegetable will work.
The key to this brine is the ratio. If you are using white vinegar: one cup of vinegar to two cups of water, two tablespoons of salt and two teaspoons of sugar. You can scale this recipe using this ratio, and add up to two tablespoons or so of spices. You can add whatever spices you like. Peppercorns, mustard seed, dill, red pepper flakes are all great choices.
Slice your chosen vegetables into whatever size pieces will fit into your jars. If you are making cucumber pickles, you can do slices, spears or any other shape. Make sure you wash your vegetables thoroughly. You can even mix different veggies together.
The recipe below is for cucumbers and will make delicious dill pickles. As a general rule of thumb, one cup of water will cover one decent sized cucumber, but it will depend on the size of your vegetables.
2 cups water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
½ Tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp dill
1 tsp red pepper flake
(optional) 1 clove of garlic, halved
Slice your vegetables, in this case cucumbers, into slices or pieces of your choosing.
Place sliced vegetables and the garlic into clean glass jars.
Put the water and vinegar into a non-reactive saucepan, dissolve the sugar and salt into the brine. Add in the spices. Bring the brine to a boil. Turn off the heat, and carefully pour the brine into the jars evenly over the vegetables. Make sure the vegetables are covered by the brine. Try to get most of the spices into the jars as well.
Let jars cool, then put on lids and place in the fridge.
If you choose to add garlic, the garlic may turn blue from a reaction with the vinegar. This is normal and not harmful.