How to Pickle Vegetables at Home (Psst, It’s Really Simple)
We never met a cucumber that we didn't like. But there's a lot more to put yourself in than just cucumbers - you can pick anything from onions to carrots to Brussels sprouts. Ready to try it out at home? Here's how to pick vegetables.
What is quick pickled vegetables?
The most delicious homemade cucumbers are marinated in brine for a few days to maximize their taste. However, you can pick and eat certain vegetables in the same hour if you don't have a lot of time to marinate, depending on their size and the way they are cut. Give pickled vegetables quickly. For example, whole cucumbers take at least 48 hours to acidify, but sliced onions can soak up homemade saline in just 15 minutes if you have all the time. The longer the vegetables can soak, the more pickled they become - but don't sweat when you need them right away.
The benefits of eating pickled vegetables
Essentially, all fermented vegetables can help improve gut health, but only if they're made with a brine. Vinegar, which is used for quick pickling, kills most healthy bacteria, which have a positive effect on intestinal health. Although they are not a panacea for all your wellness problems, there are still many reasons to tinker instead of buying cucumbers in the supermarket. Processed cucumbers not only contain vinegar and possible preservatives, but can also contain more sodium than homemade cucumbers. Fresh cucumbers contain probiotics and less swelling salt. Denny Waxman, a macrobiotic consultant, says that naturally pickled and fermented foods can suppress inflammatory responses to allergies, heart disease, and cancer, and help develop a healthy, efficient immune response.
Pickled cucumbers are specifically touted as potential stress relievers, anxiety alleviates, and menstrual cramps, similar to other probiotic-fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi. They are also moisturizing, rich in vitamins (after all, they are cucumbers) and research by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that they can also help regulate blood sugar levels.
What vegetables can I pickle?
A few hours (or even better, a few days) in homemade brine will transform fresh vegetables into sour, salty delicacies. Here are a few to get you started:
Cucumbers: Kirby cucumbers are our focal point for pickling, but pickles or short cucumbers that fit in a jar work perfectly if you put them in whole. Stay away from long English cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers is grown for fresh consumption instead of canned food and can result in cucumbers that are too soft instead of robust and crispy. In the supermarket you can even see specially labeled cucumbers. Pickle them whole or cut them into chips or spears.
Onions: Red and pearl onions are popular options. Red onions range from mild and sweet to refreshing, spicy and crispy (and neon pink) when pickled. Pearl onions are soft and sweet raw, but become soft and umami-rich after pickling. Cut them into thin strips or rings so that they can easily be fished out of the glass later.
Radishes: Another pink topper that makes every dish look better. Cut them into thin coins before inserting them, or pack them in the whole jar if they're small enough.
Carrots: Julienne or cut into thin slices. You can also use a peeler to create thin scraps. If you insert the carrots with Daikon, the Banh-Mi vegetables are ready for use.
Jalapeños: Instead of tasting hot like fresh jalapeño peppers, pickled jalapeños are equally sour and spicy. Cut them in rounds or halves or lay them in completely, depending on how you want to use or eat them. Banana peppers are also a must for heat lovers.
Brussels sprouts: Chop off the ends of the stems, trim all brown leaves and halve the Brussels sprouts before inserting them. You can also shred them instead.
Beets: Cut them into quarters or rounds or leave them whole (as long as they are small enough to put in the jar).
Cabbage: Let this leaf pulp ferment for three to ten days in seasoned brine and bam: you have sauerkraut.
How do I make pickling brine?
In general, the pickling brine should consist of two parts of vinegar and one part of water. You are free to adapt to your taste, but do not save * too * too much vinegar and salt, as these primarily preserve and pickle the vegetables.
You can use any pale vinegar, from white wine to rice to cider. Just know that the type affects the intensity of the brine. For example, white vinegar is hard and strong, so you may need to add more water. However, if you're a fool for the pucker, you may not need to adjust (or include) water at all. It depends on your personal preferences and the ingredients you have on hand.
Speaking of personal preferences: there are a lot of herbs, spices and additional ingredients that you can play with to customize homemade pickled vegetables. Here are some popular options you might currently have in your kitchen:
Crushed pepper flakes
Instead of sugar, there are also various sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.
How to make quick cucumbers
This recipe fits in a heat-resistant quart glass or two pint glasses. We used kirby cukes, but you can also try the same saline solution for every vegetable you have. Once you take your first cold, crispy bite, you will never go back to cucumbers bought in the store.
12 Kirby cucumbers
3 chopped cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of mustard seeds
1 sprig of fresh dill
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1¼ cups of water
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
Pack the cucumbers tightly in a heat-resistant glass. If you insert quickly, cut them into coins or spears first so that they can absorb as much saline as possible. Add the garlic, mustard seeds and dill.
Bring the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a boil over medium heat. If you are really pressed for time, cook the cucumbers briefly in the brine.
Pour the salt solution over the cucumbers and close the jar. Let them marinate as long as possible. If you have time, cool the jar for at least two days and up to two weeks before opening it for best results.
RELATED: How To Make Pickled Onions Because They Taste Good On Everything
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