If you’re anything like me, you’re always searching for different ways to maximize the yield from you harvest. While I love canning, sometimes the volume of your harvest simply doesn’t warrant going through the process. On today’s episode I’m detailing my favorite way of quickly preserving even the smallest amount of vegetables. Listen to find out the entire process of quick-pickling, the tools you’ll need to pull it off, and some of my favorite recipes.
Some highlights from the episode:
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Welcome to the old fashioned on purpose podcast when it comes to gardening, Yo win some and you'll lose some. This year I've definitely been on the losing side things to a cool summer and plenty of hailstorms . The usual bounty that would keep me canning for days on end is instead coming into the house in a trickle rather than a flood. I've had to readjust my preservation plans quite a bit. In today's episode I'm going to tell you exactly how I'm using a method called quick pickling to save the very best of our small harvests for later. I'm your host Jill winger and for the last 10 years I've been helping people just like you who feel disenchanted by modern life. I'll show you how to create the life you really want by growing your own food and mastering old fashioned skills. So what on Earth is quick pickling? Well it's so simple but I don't know why more folks don't talk about it cause it's a fantastic way to preserve small bits of veggies that you might have trickling in from your garden. So quick pickling is also known as refrigerator pickles and it's a fantastic way to preserve really any type of vegetable with a few exceptions, but it just goes way beyond cucumbers. So you have to remove from your head that cucumbers are the only pickle vegetable because you can do so many other options in a nutshell to quick pickle something you just cover fresh raw vegetables in a brine and put 'em in the fridge. There is no canning required. This is not fermentation. All I, although I love that method as well. This is different. This is literally Brian Fridge done. The only hard part is that you have to wait a little while. A few days is all. So the Brian has time to infuse into the vegetables. But after that you can snack on them anytime you want or add them to a cheese board or a salad or just eat them for supper. They last a good several months in the fridge. So you can be eating your summer bounty well into the fall. Okay, so now that you understand what quick pickling is, why would you want to do this? Because, like I said, there's other ways to pickle. You can do the canning route, you can do the old fashioned brined fermented pickle route. So what's the perk of quick pickling? I feel like that's a tongue twister. Um, so the one downfall be that quick pickled vegetables don't have the same deep flavor as the fermented ones would and they're not going to last on your shelf at room temp. But there are some definite benefits. So number one, the biggest thing for me is I can do this in very small batches, which this year is an absolute necessity because I am not getting baskets and baskets of food from the garden. I'm just not, it's little bits at a time. I also love that you don't have to have special equipment. You don't need a canning pot. You don't have to heat up your kitchen. It's a jar and call it good. I also like that you can mix and match. So the other day I was doing some pickling and I had a few carrots. I had a few beats. I stuck them together in a jar and I called it good. Um , and I have this hodgepodge, right? And it works. Like you don't have to have only one variety. You can do big jars, you can do small jars, very simple, very hard to mess it up. And I also like that they're quick, which is why we call them quick pickling because I'm not having to wait for anything to ferment or to wait for my candor to heat up. I stick them in the fridge. Wait two to three days. Collagen. So let's talk really quickly about what you need to do this and also some of the best vegetables for quick pickling. So of course cucumbers are the first one that come to mind, but you can also make amazing pickles with green beans. Those are my kids . Absolute favorite. Beets, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, radishes, squash, tomatoes, onions or more like you could also do fruits. Um, I haven't done fruits personally, but you know, peaches, watermelon, blueberries can pickle those. It's kind of more a little old school to have that tangy fruit combo going on. The only things that you probably are gonna want to avoid pickling are the more delicate leafy vegetables like Greens, you know, spinach, chard, et Cetera, or lettuce. That's obviously going to be a bad combo. Lettuce, vinegar brine. Yeah, let's just stay with steer clear of that and as far as equipment goes, you'll want a little sauce pot or a pan to make the brine and then some sort of jar to hold the produce. You'll definitely want to use a non-reactive sort of jar, which just basically means not metal and also not plastic because we don't want to have any weird flavors leaching into our pickles, so glass jars are the best. You can use mason jars or use some repurposed glass jars. Whatever you have is fine. You're also going to want to have a brine and this is the most important of the whole recipe. It brings all the flavor and the preservation properties as well. Quick pickle brine is very simple. It's made a vinegar, salt water and a little bit of sugar. If you feel like it, the most important thing you need to know about your brine , and this is really like the only rule that's non-negotiable, is that in order to keep out any bad bacteria from your quick pickles, you have to have a one to one ratio of vinegar and water in your brain. So one cup [inaudible] to one cup water, two cubs vinegar to two cups , water and so on. Now you can use any vinegar you really want so you can use a cheap distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine, red wine, rice vinegar, whatever flavors you like the most. The ones I would add would avoid though probably would be the really concentrated ones like balsamic or malt vinegar. Um , but otherwise you should be good. My personal favorite, I just stick with the very affordable distilled white or apple cider vinegar. It's easy to find, like I said, very affordable and tastes really good for the salt. For your brine, do avoid regular table salt. And this is true for any sort of canning or fermentation that you do because it contains some additives or some antiquing agent agents or iodine and those things can discolor your pickles or give them strange flavors. So instead just use a pure sea salt, kosher salt, canning salt or pickling salt. I like real salt, Redmond, real salt. Um, that's what I use for almost everything. It has great flavor. It's natural, really happy with that one. Um, also you can use the kosher salt and the blue boxes from the grocery store. Just keep it simple. As far as water goes, any water is going to work. Um, if you have chlorinated city water, it would be cautious with that because it can give you some funky flavors or if your well water is very, very hard, you might want to opt for filtered water. But honestly we have considerably Hardwell water. Like it leaves deposits on the Bath Tub fixtures and so on. And I used that unfiltered for, for pickles and it doesn't hurt anything. So if you have really funky tasting water, maybe take that into consideration. But otherwise I wouldn't overthink that. And lastly the sugar, so you don't have to use sugar, but I just like adding a little bit to help round out the flavor. And it also keeps the brine from being too sour or too salty. Um, and this isn't going to necessarily make your pickles sweet, like you could make sweet pickles this way, the sugars just to take the edge off so you don't have to add it, but it's not a bad addition and it's not going to necessarily make your , your pickle pickles tastes sugary, just takes the edge off the vinegar. Okay. So if you want to grab a quick pen and paper, I'm just going to give you the basic brine formula for these pickles, right? And you can use this for any vegetable. As long as you have this formula, you can scale it and you're going to be good to go. So we're going to start with one cup water, one cup than a [inaudible] . I'm just gonna use distilled white for most of mine. One tablespoon of salts . Uh , probably going to be core salt would be your best bet here. And then one tablespoon of sugar or reduce that, relieve it out if you wish. So you're going to take this Brian and bring it to a boil and then you're going to pour it over the vegetables in your jar. Put the cap on, stick it in the fridge, 48 hours, 36 hours later, somewhere in there. They're ready to go. Now, the longer you leave them in the fridge, the more flavorful they will be, but you can eat them as early as 48 hours. You can also customize this, Brian . So rarely will you find me just using the straight up Brian s more of my base. So for my recent pickles that I made, I did a batch of carrots, beets, and green beans from the garden. I added dil both fresh and dried because they didn't have enough fresh to last all the way through. So I used a combo. I did a bay leaf , a added peppercorns and mustard seeds, fresh garlic, and a few dried chili peppers. Other options would be adding any other herbs. Let's say time Oregano, Rosemary, Mark Durham , adding coriander, cumin seeds. You could do Tumeric, Paprika, any or other sort of pickling spice blend and definitely you know, onion, shallots, fresh ginger, hot peppers, horseradish, et cetera . The Sky is the limit. So there is your crash course, my friends in quick pickled vegetables. It's as simple as washing the veggies, chopping them, sticking them in jars, pouring the brine over the top, letting them sit and that is it. I cannot wait to see what combinations you come up with and how creative you get with your flavors. When you make your first batch of quick pickles, take a picture posted on social media and give me a tag so I can celebrate along with you. So if you are falling love with the idea of an old fashioned intentional kitchen full of nourishing food like quick pickles and plenty of memories you will love my heritage kitchen handbook. I packed this little ebook full of my very best tricks for cooking and eating like a farmer. Even if you live in this city, grab it for free firstname.lastname@example.org and that is it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you have a second, I'd be so honored to have you pop over to iTunes or your favorite podcast player. Leave a quick review and hit subscribe. Thanks so much for listening and I can't wait to chat with you next time on the next episode of the old fashioned on purpose podcast.