If I had to name one all-time favorite food, my answer would very likely be pickles. In all honestly, I could easily make a meal on them alone and won’t say that I haven’t done so before. The thought of pickling your own vegetables, though, can seem daunting and intimidating, I’ll admit.
Yet years ago, my parents started making “refrigerator pickles” in the summer which showed me just how simple the process really is. Especially since so much delicious produce is at the peak of freshness this time of year, there’s no better time to give pickling a shot. Next time you’re at the farmer’s market, just take a look around at all of the options you have at your fingertips!
With this in mind, the beauty of pickling is that you really can use most anything. For this batch, I chose what was available and looked best, including cucumbers, jalapeños, banana peppers, radishes and red onion. Other favorite vegetables of mine to pickle, though, include okra, green beans, cauliflower and more!
Once you have your veggies picked and prepared, you’ll need to make a brine. This includes water, vinegar and salt. Heating up the brine both infuses the spices as well as accelerates the pickling process so you can enjoy your veggies more quickly.
As for the vinegar in this recipe, you can use whatever you prefer and have on hand. I used a mixture of apple cider vinegar and white vinegar for a little more interesting flavor, but you can likewise. use red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, etc.
Personally, apple cider vinegar is a favorite not only due to its flavor when added to recipes but also because of its incredible health benefits. I actually start my morning off with a special ACV drink, which you can read more about in What I Drink Every Morning & Why.
When it comes to spices, you truly can’t go wrong, so pick whatever you prefer and/or have sitting in your pantry. I chose black peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander seed and fresh dill.
Once you have your glass Mason jars filled with the sliced veggies and spices, I recommend adding a few cloves of smashed garlic to each. You can always omit this ingredient or reduce according to taste, but I believe it adds extra, incredible flavor to the pickles. Then simply pour the brine into your jars, and allow the veggies to sit in the refrigerator and do their thing.
Depending on the vegetables you use, these quick pickles should be ready to eat in about a day. The longer you allow them to sit, though, the better the result will be. I’d wait for at least a few days to allow the flavors to meld completely. While these crunchy, savory goodies can stay in your refrigerator for up to a couple of months, I can’t imagine they’ll last that long. At least not in my house .
So go ahead and put your fears of pickling at home to rest and give it a try this summer! Not only will you feel incredibly accomplished, but you’ll also get to munch on the results of your hard work too.
Press down with a spoon to make sure everything is covered, but leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top.
Store in your refrigerator for up to 2 months.
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