When the refrigerator is bursting at the seams and you just can’t bear another kitchen sink vegetable stir-fry, quick-pickling is the perfect option to use up produce in a new and exciting way. While the measurements, ingredients, and brine time can all vary based on your tastes and preferences, there are some general guidelines and best practices for making these salty, jarred goodies.
There are a variety of methods and measurements that can yield successful quick-pickling practices. While you can cook your brine in a saucepan over heat, we just whisked together sugar, vinegar, and water in a bowl until completely dissolved. We’d recommend no more than two tablespoons of sugar, because once your pickled products get too sweet, there's no going back to their savory goodness.
As far as salt, you don’t need much since you’re adding vinegar, but a good rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon for every two tablespoons of sugar. There are a variety of vinegars to choose from, so be creative. We used white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or a combination of the two for our pickles. Pour a one to one ratio of vinegar and water for your brine, but if you want a saltier, sharper flavor, go ahead and bump up the vinegar by a few tablespoons.
Our pickling brine template:
- 2 cups vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Spice, herbs, and aromatics - to taste
Our brine template makes enough for 4-6 jars of pickled fruits and veggies, so plan accordingly.
In a mason jar, put the fruits and veggies that you’re pickling, plus some spices, herbs, and aromatics for varied flavors. Peppercorns, fresh garlic, fresh dill, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and ginger slices are all wonderful choices, just be creative! Cucumbers are not the only food that pickle well. We tried out blackberries, green beans, red onions, and a poblano pepper, and they all impressed us. The list doesn’t stop there, however. Other common pickling foods are carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, rhubarb, cherries, watermelon, and tomatoes.
Secure the lid and let it chill for at least an hour, or up to 2 weeks. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavors will seep into the produce, but after a certain amount of time, the pickled foods will become soggy. This process is very much about determining the ideal texture and flavor that you are going for; you can’t go wrong. Snack on them straight from the jar, add them to salads, sandwiches, tacos, or anything that needs an salty, flavor punch.