Have an abundance of produce that you’re not sure what to do with? One easy preserving method is quick pickling, otherwise known as refrigerator pickles. These pickles will last up to a month in the fridge and there is no need for pressure cooking or water bathing. The only thing you do need to worry about is making sure the jars and lids are sterile before pickling. You can easily sterilize the jars and lids by boiling them in hot water for 10 minutes. Make sure you only handle the outside of the jar and lid after sterilizing. An easy way to ensure this, is to have some canning tools on hand. You can get a good, inexpensive set here. Helpful, but not necessary. Also, have a clean wooden spoon on hand to stamp down the pickles. The brine I’m posting today is more of a sweet flavor because I am making pickles for Bahn Mi Sandwiches, but as long as you have vinegar, salt and water, you can make a brine. I adapted this particular brine from An: To Eat, Recipes and Stories from a Vietnamese Family Kitchen, which is a cookbook I highly recommend if you enjoy Vietnamese food or want to try something different.
I had some leftover brine, so for a fun experiment I quick pickled some blueberries and zucchini as well.
I am going to use the blueberries for chicken salad and the leftover pickle juice for a salad dressing. The zucchini will be good as a side dish or appetizer. The zucchini ended up tasting a little like bread & butter pickles! Let me know if you have done any quick pickling in the past and what is your favorite pickle. Happy Brining!
Quick Pickle Brine (Sweet)
1/2 Quart White Vinegar
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Quart Warm Water
Sterilized Canning Jars
Jar Lids and Rings
Instructions for the Brine:
Dissolve the sugar and salt in warm water, stir in vinegar. Makes about 1&1/2 quart of brine.
Instructions for Quick Pickling:
This will vary depending on what you are pickling, but for the most part, place what you want to pickle, tightly packed, in a sterilized jar, pour the brine into jar until there is about a 1/2 inch of head room. Place lid on jar and tighten with jar ring. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
If you are pickling greens, for Vietnamese style, you want to marinate them in a sugar and salt mixture for about an hour before pickling.
If you are pickling carrots or radishes, for Vietnamese style, you will want to marinate them in sugar for about two hours before pickling.
Whatever you are pickling, make sure the product is cut up into easy to eat pieces before pickling. Enjoy!