Pickling is so hot right now, and it’s the easiest way to preserve summer’s flavors. All you need is a little vinegar, salt, sugar and select spices, and you can transform aging veggies into a delicious snack.
Pickling is actually a simple process. First, choose which vegetables you want to pickle, and then buy the freshest produce you can. Typically, veggies with a tougher skin, like cucumbers, do best, but root vegetables like carrots and radishes also work well in the pickling process. Just remember: the sturdier the vegetable, the better.
Next, stock up on vinegar. Cider vinegar or distilled vinegar are the most commonly used. Spices come next, which will give you a great opportunity to play with a variety of herb and spice combinations. If you don’t know where to start, try yellow mustard, coriander and fennel seeds to add flavor.
Finally, pick your salt. Kosher, sea or pickling salt (pure granulated salt) is recommended over normal table salt, which contains caking agents, such as iodine, that can cloud the brines and inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria during fermentation.
Once you have all the ingredients, brine and drain your selected veggies, then boil them in the vinegar/spice/salt solution. Package the vegetables and liquid into jars, cover them in the remaining hot vinegar solution and can them for future use. The acid from the vinegar, along with naturally forming acids in the food itself, slows down the decaying process, so you’ll be able to enjoy your pickled produce for months to come!