I’ve been pretty obsessed with the idea of canning lately. But, since I don’t have most of the equipment necessary for traditional canning, I decided to start with some quick pickles first.
Quick pickles (also known as refrigerator pickles) are very easy to make and they don’t require sterilization because you store the pickles in the fridge. The downside is that the pickles have to be consumed within 4-8 weeks. This is not a problem if you’re only pickling a small batch of produce.
So, off I went searching for a nice quick pickle starter recipe. I found the quick pickle 101 from Hip Girl’s Home and this Asian inspired quick pickle from Food in Jars to be the most instructive, so I sort of combined the two recipes to make my very first batch of quick pickles. I made enough for 3 jars. For the brine I pretty much followed the first recipe, altering only the amount of salt and sugar in each of the 3 jars. For flavors I took from the second recipe and added what I had on hand, removing the mint and adding in ginger slices.
Asian Flavor Quick Pickles with Carrots, Cucumber and Cauliflower
This will make enough brine for 3 quart sized jars.
3 c water
3 c vinegar (I used rice vinegar, but any would do)
6 tsp kosher salt
You can adjust the amount according to your taste. I went pretty liberal with my spices, adding about 2-3 tsp spices for each jar, but you can adjust the amount based on your preference.
Ginger root, sliced
3 Garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
Wash and cut veggie into chunks. Try to keep the pieces similar in size.
Arrange the veggie and spices into the glass canning jars (no sterilization required, but the jars do have to be clean & dry).
Bring the brine to a boil.
Pour the brine carefully into the prepared jars. Fill to the top and make sure all the veggies are submerged.
Give the jars a gentle tap to release any air bubbles.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the jars.
Here’s what the pickles look like after 12 hrs:
I couldn’t wait so I took some out of one jar to taste. The carrots and cauliflower florets were both very crunchy and had a nice tang. The cucumber slices were not as crunchy as I’d liked, but still much crunchier than store bought pickles. The crunchiness will probably improve if I used a different kind of cucumber. I’m curious how the pickles will taste after a few more days. Will they pick up even more of the tangy flavor, or will they mellow out somehow? After 12 hrs, the vinegar flavor is at the threshold of what I can handle. If the pickles develop a stronger acidity over time, it will probably be too strong for me. I may lower the vinegar level to 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water next time.
[Update] After waiting 1 week, the pickles took on a more mellow and deeper flavor. They were definitely not as tart as before. I think this is the correct amount of tartness so I probably won’t need to adjust the vinegar to water ratio next time. All good things come to those who wait, I guess…. so you’ll want to definitely store these in the fridge and wait at least 1 week before you sample them!