Now is the perfect time to get yourself in a pickle. Don’t worry, I’m talking about the good kind.
When it comes to pickling veggies, there’s two options you can choose from: quick pickling or fermented pickling. Quick pickling (like the name suggests) is an easy and simple process. It’s the basic definition of a pickle: a food that’s been preserved in salt/salty water or an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. This is known as a basic brine, which is usually equal parts of vinegar and water—but it’s up to you to decide the ratio you want. All you need to do is throw these saturated veggies in the fridge for a few days, and there’s no need to can or seal them.
Fermented pickling, on the other hand, is a much more elaborate process. With fermentation, veggies are preserved to last for a much longer amount of time. There’s another difference: during fermented pickling, the veggies don’t go straight to the fridge. First, they need to be kept in a sealed-tight jar (a.k.a that cute mason jar you have lying around) at room temperature for a few days. You’ll know when they’re ready to be placed in the fridge when you see bubbles throughout the jar (don’t panic, this is not a bad thing). It might take longer than the more basic pickle, but you’re also enhancing the nutrient content of your food through fermentation.
Yes, any vegetable can be pickled. But remember: not all are the same when it comes to this cooking method. Veggies like cucumber, ginger, and red onion can just be thinly sliced, while others like green beans should be blanched before you begin the process.
Now the flavors that you choose to combine in your pickle is where the true magic happens. Craving a fresher taste? Try adding some herbs like dill, thyme, oregano or rosemary. Craving a spicier flavor? Go to town with spices like peppercorns, mustard seed, turmeric, smoked paprika, or some ginger. And we mustn’t forget the garlic!
If you’re tickled by the pickle, here are some recipes for you to try:
Onions are a staple for so many dishes, and this pickle recipe brings out the tangy, crunchy goodness that we all love. These babies pair excellently with pork, or as a topping to tacos or burritos. Get our Pickled Red Onions recipe.
This traditional Korean dish involves pickling Napa cabbage and daikon radish using fermentation, but the longer process is worth it as you’ll be using this in a variety of dishes—like alongside some tender, braised short ribs. Get our Basic Napa Cabbage Kimchi recipe.
Spice up your summer with these pickled jalapeños. They’ll jazz up just about any meal and will only take about an hour in the fridge to marry with the brine. If the summer heat isn’t enough for you, throw in some peppercorns for an added kick. Get our Quick-Pickled Jalapeños recipe.
— Head photo: Chowhound.