I have fond memories of my grandmother pickling extra vegetables from her garden at the end of the summer, filling bookshelves with jars of pickled peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers in her basement.
We mentioned last week how pickled vegetables are super-trendy this summer ... I know that I've noticed an increase of the jarred goods at my local farmers' market. But you don't have to trot to your market to enjoy them, you can make them just as easily at home.
- Select approximately 20 oz. worth of vegetables that you want to pickle. There are tons to choose from: beets, cucumbers, peppers, onions, olives, beans, cabbage, etc. Make sure they're in good condition and have no blemishes on them. Wash them thoroughly.
- While some vegetables are pickled whole, such as cucumbers and beets, others are too big to fit in the jar, so cut or trim your vegetables to size.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. Place the vegetables in the boiling water and let cook until vibrant in color but still firm -- about 1 minute.
- Transfer vegetables to prepared ice bath until cool and drain. Then put them into a clean jar (or jars), top with spices and herbs, and set aside. To make actual pickles, use 1 tablespoon of mixed spices such as dill, coriander, mustard, or celery.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir 2 1/2 cups of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of sugar together until just under a boil. Pour mixture directly over vegetables.
- Allow to cool at room temperature, cap, and store for up to one month.
Do you like pickled vegetables? Have you ever tried pickling your own?
Image via ccarlstead/Flickr
Chop or trim your vegetables to size, if necessary. Many vegetables, including cucumbers and beets, are pickled whole. However, if you're working with large vegetables such as peppers, you can cut them into quarters. Green tomatoes are usually sliced, yellow or green beans can be cut to a consistent length of 2 to 4 inches; asparagus spears should be trimmed to fit in your jar lengthwise.
Create a brine solution by combining 1/3 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water in a large glass bowl. Make sure the vegetables are fully covered and soak them overnight.
Drain the vegetables and pack them into 1-quart glass jars.
Divide the mustard seed, dill and garlic evenly and place them in the jars. This spice combination creates a standard dill pickle flavor; you can adjust or change the spice ingredients for different vegetables and recipes.
Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and water in a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour it into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Put the lids on the jars.
Bring a large pot of water almost to boiling. There should be enough water in the pot to cover about 3/4 of the way up the jars. Place the jars carefully in the pot, then add very hot tap water to cover the jars with about 1 inch of water.
Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Let it boil gently for 20 minutes. Check the water level to make sure the jars remain covered; add more water if necessary.
Remove the jars from the boiling water and set them on a rack to cool thoroughly, with several inches of space between them.