Think pickles are just a minor player in burgers and sandwiches? Think again! Virtually any vegetable – and even eggs and fruit – can reach a tastier, tangier state through the magic of pickling. Pickles pack a briny zing that’s especially great with rich meat dishes, but they also make a delicious, light snack. Avoid the steep sodium content of most store-bought pickles and make your own at home—no canning required!
Perfect pickling starts with the perfect brine—and you are the judge and jury. We love the all-purpose brine recipe below, but don’t be afraid to experiment. As long as you’ve got the brine basics – vinegar, water, sugar and salt – you can change up the spices and aromatics a thousand different ways. Play around with different types and combinations of vinegar, too.
The brine is only one way to you can pickles interesting. Avoid a pickle rut by trying a medley of different veggies. Pickled beets, turnips, celery root, green beans, carrots, asparagus, okra, parsnips and tomatillos are all a tasty departure from cucumbers—though there’s something to be said for a timeless classic.
- 2 C Spectrum Organic® Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 C water
- 1/4 C Hain® Organic Sugar
- 1 jalapeño, quartered (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
- 4 C vegetables of your choice
- In a medium saucepan, combine, vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in remaining herbs and spices. Cool brine completely before using.
- Slice vegetables into rounds or pieces 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick.
- If you’re pickling something other than cucumbers, it’s best to blanch your veggies first. Immerse them in boiling water until color brightens, ~2 minutes, then shock them in ice water. For a crunchier texture (closer to raw veggies), omit this step.
- Transfer brine to glass jars. Add vegetables to jars, making sure they are completely immersed in liquid. Remember, different vegetables pickle at different rates, so keep them separate.
- Place jars in the refrigerator and wait for the magic to happen. Most veggies will be at their pickled peak after 3 to 4 days. Heartier veggies, like beets and okra, may take up to a week. Don’t be afraid to taste test to see if they’re done.
- Pickled vegetables will keep, refrigerated, for up to one month.
Nothing says lovin’ like homemade, and that’s definitely true for pickled veggies. More distinct than baked goods, with a longer shelf life, pickles make a unique and unexpected gift. Pick up a case of mason jars, add a hand-written label and fill with your lucky recipient’s favorite variety.