It’s time to think beyond pickles. You can “pickle” just about any vegetable to add fresh flavor to your food. Most people don’t realize how simple and easy pickling can be, so I’ve put together a list of great tips to get you venturing out yourself. I hope you find yourself… well, in a pickle!
Quick Pickling – One of my favorite toppings for tacos and sandwiches are pickled red onions, and they are ready in as little as 30 minutes. Make a quick brine of 3/4 rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Thinly slice your onion and allow it to soak for 30 minutes (or as close to that as you can get). Any unused onion will keep in the brine in the fridge for up to a month! Try the same technique with julienned cucumbers, jalapeños and daikon radishes for great tang and crunch on sandwiches!
Reuse Your Brine – Once you use the last pickle in the jar, don’t toss it out! The brine can be used again and again, so all you need to buy are some fresh cucumbers. Wash and slice them and pop them into your pickle jar and seal it up. In two weeks, you’ll have a fresh jar of pickles for about half the cost!
Add to Your Brine – Pop in a couple of garlic cloves, peppercorns, and a sprig of fresh dill or thyme to your reused brine. You’ll be amazed at the flavor infusion.
Preserve Your Summer Crops – Pickling is a fabulous way to preserve your summer veggies growing wild in your garden. Pickled corn, beans, cucumbers, cabbage, peppers and carrots are incredible and can keep in your pantry for up to three months! My favorite pickling recipe is from Jamie Oliver.
Sweet or Spicy or Both? – Play around with your own brines to create your favorite flavors. Drop in a couple of dried red peppers for a spicy kick or a couple of heaping tablespoons of sugar to make a sweet and sour brine. Better yet, try both for sweet and spicy brine to knock your socks off! The point is, have fun and make it your own!
Think Beyond Burgers – Pickled veggies add a delicious zip to potato salad, egg salad and pasta salad. Use them as a topping for sandwiches, tacos, or pizza for extra flavor and crunch.
A Note About Salt – Avoid iodized (table salt) for pickling. Opt for kosher or sea salt, which gives you a more rounded flavor with less salt.
A Note About Vinegar – Any light-colored vinegar will work for pickling, but avoid straight-up white distilled vinegar, which is too strong. Rice wine, apple cider, and white wine vinegar are some of my favorites.
Pickled Gifts – A jar of homemade pickles or veggies makes a perfect gift. (Plus, your friends will think you’re a genius!)