If you are looking to brighten up your summer dishes, nothing packs a bigger punch than pickling! Pickled food adds a nice tangy bite to your summer menu. Quick pickling doesn’t involve the multi-step canning process of preserving vegetables to store in the pantry but rather adds extra flavor quickly by marinating and brining.
Quick pickling requires food to be refrigerated and consumed within a week or two. The marinade or brine is usually an equal mixture of vinegar and water, sugar or a sweetener, along with herbs, spices, and aromatics added to give it a distinctive taste. Another added bonus is quick pickling allows for a lot of experimentation with different types of vinegar, sweeteners, and spices! And it’s not just vegetables that can be quick pickled, check out the pickled shrimp recipe below.
To get you started, here are a few basics:
Use Fresh Vegetables
Almost any vegetable can be quick pickled as long as its fresh. Asparagus, beets, carrots, red and green peppers, green beans, radishes, cucumbers, onions, summer squash, and mushrooms are all options. Peel, trim, slice, quarter, and cut your vegetables into any shape as long as they’re similar sized spears, slices, chunks, or pieces. Equal size means equal brining! Jars of pickled vegetables need not be exclusive to one vegetable; go ahead and make a veggie mix.
Consider These Herbs, Spices, & Aromatics
- Fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, oregano, sage, bay leaf
- Dried herbs such as basil, dill, rosemary, oregano, or cumin
- Whole spices such as mustard seed, coriander, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, fennel seed
- Garlic cloves, fresh ginger, citrus zest, or onion
For quick pickling, a basic brine is equal parts vinegar and water and sweetener. Any basic vinegar works—white vinegar, apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar are all good options. Heavier and concentrated vinegars like balsamic or malt vinegar don’t fare too well in pickling. Sweeteners such as granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup are all options that provide a custom taste.
Here is a basic template for a pint of quick pickled vegetables.
- 1 pint size mason jar or any other airtight pint container
- About ½ pound fresh vegetables, such as pickling cucumbers, asparagus, carrots and onions, washed, trimmed ,and cut into like-size pieces. You should have enough vegetables to snuggly fill a jar. (If desired, prior to pickling, sturdier vegetables such as carrots or asparagus can be blanched for 1 or 2 minutes. Cool immediately in ice water.)
- 2 to 4 sprigs fresh dill or mix of other fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- Pinch of red pepper flakes and any other spices or aromatics to your liking
- Add the prepared vegetables and fresh herbs to the jar, packing them in tightly but not smashing! Leave a ½ inch or so from the top of the jar for the brine.
- In a small saucepan bring vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, salt, and spices to a simmer, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Turn off heat let stand until brine is just warm. (Adding boiling water to a glass jar can cause it to shatter).
- Carefully pour brine over vegetables, tamping and nudging vegetables with a wooden spoon so they are all submerged and covered with brine.
- Let cool for an hour or so then cover tightly and refrigerator. They will be ready to eat in 24 hours! Consume in the next couple of weeks.
Pickling is not just for vegetables! That briny spicy marinade that is so delicious on vegetables, also gives plumb shrimp a delicious transformation. This recipe makes an impressive buffet appetizer for any season and can be made a day or so ahead of time. Add to a leftover rice or grain for an easy one bowl meal.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs large or jumbo shrimp. Peeled and deveined (if preferred, leave tails on for an easier “handle”)
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon thinly sliced jalapeño pepper
- ½ cup julienned red bell pepper
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2/3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat, add shrimp and sauté until done, 2 to 3 minutes. Careful not to overcook. Place shrimp in large bowl and set aside.
- Zest and juice lemon.
- In a medium sauce pan combine lemon zest and juice, jalapeño pepper and next 8 ingredients and simmer until vegetables should be tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Pour mixture over the shrimp, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.
- To serve, discard bay leaf, stir in chopped parsley and arrange shrimp on platter.
Pickled Cucumber, Red Onion and Radish Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish
This is a great summer side dish that has never lost its popularity. Change it up by adding sliced tomatoes, brown sugar instead of granulated sugar or add a pinch of dill.
- 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 or 2 thinly sliced radishes.
- 1 ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If preparing ahead, cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 days. Flavor gets spicier as it marinates but the cucumbers will begin to lose their crunch after a couple days.
No Comments Yet
Let us know what you think