Many people don’t realize that not all pickles are preserved. While preserved pickles are great, there’s no reason why you can’t make a batch of pickles just-in-time for your next meal.
Another advantage of quick pickles is that it can disguise less-than-stellar veggies. If you find yourself with vegetables that are starting to go soft, you can easily use this technique to put a little bit of life (and a lot of flavor) back in to them.
There are two primary ways to get vegetables to absorb vinegar for pickling. One is to cook them in it (like these quick pickled onions) and one is to simply let them have a bath. Cooking is quicker and easier to infuse spice flavors (the heat transfers flavor) while marinating them like the following example which will retain lots of texture and crunch. Both versions tend to be crunchier than preserved pickles which are cooked in a hot water bath and will soften.
- 1-2 cups of clean, chopped vegetables. Try to cut pieces in similar size as each other. I used carrots, peas and radishes because that’s what we had.
- Optional: chili flakes or fresh herbs (I used a handful of chilis and a 1/4 cup of cilantro)
- Vinegar to cover (about 50%-75% of the volume of vegetables). You can use different types – I used plain white vinegar.
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. The more water, the better.
- Blanch the veggies by cooking them for 15-45 seconds (they will be brighter and vibrant).
- Strain through a colander and chill as fast as possible (an ice bath or really cold tap water will do this easily.
- Transfer to a bowl.
- Cover in vinegar.
- Add the honey, stir to incorporate.
- Add chilis/ herbs if you’re using them.
- Taste after 10 minutes and continue to taste every 5 minutes thereafter until you are happy with the flavor. Drain the pickles and serve of store in fridge (you can keep them in vinegar for a long time – they will get more sour as time marches on).
It’s that simple.
What do you make quick pickles with (or what do you want to try)?