The basics of vegetable pickling

Fresh veggies are great, and abundant in the summer. Whether you are checking out your local farmers’ market, or just in the vegetable aisle of your supermarket, fresh colourful veggies are everywhere. But once the weather cools, fresh produce becomes costly, not as flavourful, and expensive. So, if you want to enjoy summer veggies all year long, you can pickle them. Pickling vegetables is simple and, once they are pickled, you can add them to salads, sandwiches, pasta, and just about any other recipe all year long. For everything you need to know about pickling, read on.

Pickled Vegetables

Pickling tips

1What Veggies to Use

When pickling vegetables, be sure to use crunchy, fresh veggies. Cauliflower, beets, onions, cucumbers, celery, carrots, and zucchini are all great options for pickling because they will keep some of their crunch; you don’t want soggy vegetables. Also, because the vegetables will be in the pickling liquid for at least 48 hours, but usually longer, you don’t want them to break down easily, you want to use vegetables that will stand up to the pickling liquid. Experiment with all kinds of vegetables, try using mushrooms, green beans, or eggplants for something unique and different.

2Supplies You’ll Need

When making pickled vegetables, you should store them in glass jars with sealable lids. Items that are pickled will last for months, even years in some cases, if prepared correctly. You need to make sure you are using sterilized jars because even the smallest amount of bacteria will ruin your pickling efforts. When you purchase the jars, you should sterilize them by first rinsing them in hot soapy water, then boiling them, similar to what you would do if you were canning or making jam. If you are making a large amount of pickled vegetables, try to use smaller jars because once opened, they will lose freshness.

3Preparing the Vegetables

First, soak the vegetables [overnight] or boil them [for about 1 or 2 minutes] in a water and salt brine before adding them to the jars. You can also boil the vegetables in vinegar for about 15 minutes. This process will prepare the vegetables for soaking up the flavours of the pickling liquid.

4Making the Brine

Just about every brine is a combination of vinegar and salt, or sugar along with herbs and spices. The most common pickling liquid has a combination of mustard seeds, dill, and garlic, but you can add other herbs like bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander, or celery seeds. You can also add a variety of fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, or cilantro. Be creative with your favourite flavors!

Pickled mixed vegetables recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 20-ounces fresh mixed vegetables, or one vegetable of choice
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon celery seeds
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Boil a large pot of salted water; add the vegetables to the water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to preserve color and crunch.
  2. While vegetables are cooling, combine mustard seeds, celery seeds, herbs, vinegar, water, and sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  3. When vegetables are cooled, place in sterilized jars and pour hot spice mixture over top, leaving about 1/2-inch space at the top.
  4. Bring another large pot of water to a boil and place jars in water; add more water so it covers jars by about 1-inch. Let jars simmer for about 20 minutes, adding more water if needed to keep jars covered. Remove jars carefully with tongs and let them cool. Store them in a cool, dry place for a few months.

How to pickle vegetables

Watch this video that shows you how easy it is to pickle your own vegetables at home.

More pickling ideas

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