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2017-09-06 / Featured / Taste

Savor summer’s bounty with fridge pickling

BY SARAH KURYSZ
PHOTOS BY JENNY McQUEEN

With the summer drawing to a close and vegetable harvests at their peak, the time is ripe for pickling!

Pickles can spice up more than just snack time. Both sweet and savory pickles will enhance your next cheese plate, alongside a good beer. Adding spicy pickled green tomatoes to a martini gives this classic a new twist. Garlic dill pickles bring a zing to chicken salad. Add ½ cup of diced bread and butter pickles to your favorite meatloaf recipe – trust me, it’s delicious. The strong presence of vinegar means that pickles can hold their own with almost any flavor, while bringing a new dimension to your palette.

It may seem overwhelming to take on home pickling; your mind drifts to lists of necessary equipment and obscure spices. Don’t worry, though, today we are focusing on a simpler process: easy fridge pickling! While quick pickles – or “quickles” – do need to be stored in the fridge, as opposed to a pantry or cupboard, the vinegar brine will allow them to keep for 2-3 weeks or longer. You don’t have to worry about them being in your fridge for too long, though; quickles are so delicious, they tend to get gobbled up in no time. You really can pickle anything. While cucumbers are the go-to favorite, I have made tasty pickles with everything from hard-boiled eggs to asparagus to grapes. The steps to fridge pickling are easy: Select a vegetable and wash it. Cut your vegetable into appropriate pickle size.

Select a glass jar that will fit your vegetable, wash and rinse well. You can get canning jars just about anywhere, but don’t hesitate to use any glass jar: salsa jars, jam jars, or pasta sauce jars will all work for fridge pickles. Because we are not canning in a water bath, we can use any glass jar with a tightly sealed lid.

Fill your clean jars with your washed and cut veggies, packing as much as possible into each jar.

Pour boiling brine over veggies, filling the jar within ¼ inch of the top.

Screw on cap (carefully, its hot!) and allow to cool on the counter for 2 hours.

Place in fridge for chilling. You can enjoy the next day or 2 ½ weeks later – the longer you let them sit, the stronger the flavors will be.

Delight in sharing with neighbors, friends, or culinary rivals.

Brine options are nearly infinite, but my three favorites are garlic dill, bread and butter, and spiced sweet. With these three brines and fresh veggies of your choosing, your pickling game will be on point! I have selected green beans, cauliflower and carrots for my recipes, but don’t hesitate to get creative. Each of these recipes is written for six pint-sized jars.

Garlic dilly beans

3 ½ pounds green beans
12 cloves garlic
6 large sprigs dill
(no more than one bunch)

Divide up produce evenly in your jars.

For the brine:
3 ½ cups white vinegar
2 cups water
. cup kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons dill seed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Bring brine ingredients to a boil and pour evenly into jars.

Bread and butter cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, cut into
bite-sized florets
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
Divide produce evenly in your jars.

For the brine:
3 cups white vinegar
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 Tablespoons mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Bring brine ingredients to a boil and pour evenly into jars.

Sweet pickled carrots

3 pounds carrots, cut into sticks and divided into jars

For the brine:
4 cups apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
3 cups brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons whole dried cloves
2-3 whole dried star anise
2 Tablespoons whole allspice berries
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Bring brine ingredients to a boil, allow to simmer for 8 minutes, and pour evenly into jars.

So, there you have it! If you find you enjoy pickling, there is a Richmond-area pickle meetup, called Artisan Pickles, on the third Tuesday of every month at Center of the Universe Brewing in Ashland. Bring a jar to share, and try other home recipes from all around the area! ¦

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