Sticky Notes - A Guide To Pickling
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A Guide To Pickling

August 8, 2022 by Emily Moore

How does a vegetable become a pickle? It goes through a jarring experience

CANNING we PICKLE your fancy? Sweet, salty, crunchy pickles taste great on their own or tucked into sandwiches. Have you ever tried making your own? It’s a fun activity to do with kids and can even help expand their palates! 

As the name implies, quick pickling is easy – there’s no need for sterilizing or special canning jars. The process basically goes like this: boil a vinegar solution with spices, herbs, and other aromatics. Let it cool down. Pour the solution over whatever you’d like to pickle and then refrigerate it. 

As far as ingredients, you don’t need a lot and you have tons of flexibility. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Vinegar – you can use any kind of vinegar for pickling. White wine or distilled white vinegar are often preferred because they won’t affect the color of the vegetables. 
  • Salt – kosher salt or pickling salt are preferred because they lack a caking agent that can result in a cloudy brine.
  • Produce – use fresh, firm, unblemished produce.
  • Spices – use whole spices, not ground. Again, this keeps your brine from turning cloudy. Popular pickling spices include fennel, coriander, mustard, dill, cumin, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and star anise.
  • Herbs – use fresh herbs, not dried, because fresh herbs are WAY more flavorful. Dill, parsley, cilantro, oregano, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, chives, scallions, and bay leaves are all great flavor-boosters.
  • Aromatics – raw onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, horseradish, and citrus zest also add terrific flavor.

I know sometimes it’s helpful to have an actual recipe, so, here’s our favorite one for Summer Garden Pickles.

But pickling isn’t just for pickles anymore – you can pickle practically any fruit or vegetable! Try pickling celery and adding it to potato salad for extra tangy crunch. Make a batch of the prettiest, pinkest, pickled red onions to top tacos and salads! But why stop there? Zucchini, carrots, green beans, or cherry tomatoes – they’re all there, just waiting to be pickled!

And when you’re done… save the pickle juice! You can reuse it to make more pickled fruits and veggies. Or swap out some of the mayo in your favorite picnic side (e.g., tuna/chicken salad, deviled eggs, etc.). Or drink it plain, like Gatorade, to restore lost sodium and electrolytes (really, it’s a thing).

You can even use it in your garden! Pickle juice is highly acidic, so it's great for killing weeds and making the soil acidic for certain plants like rhododendrons and hydrangeasI bet you didn't know pickle juice was such a big DILL!

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