All-Purpose Pickled Vegetables
by Leonard Hollander, Chef, Arbor, Chicago, Illinois
Add some savory crunch to your favorite summer veggies with this simple brine. For a more subtle flavor, quick-pickle the veggies for a few hours; for a stronger bite, store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Pickle summer fruits by omitting the pickling spices and doubling the sugar.
- 1 to 1½ pounds summer vegetables*
- 3 cups light vinegar (white, champagne, white wine, white balsamic)
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons pickling spice blend (mustard seeds, allspice, coriander, dill seeds, bay leaf, chili flakes)**
- *For firmer pickled vegetables, choose carrots, radishes, green beans, beets, peppers, and okra. For pickled vegetables with a softer bite, choose zucchini, cherry tomato, cucumber, celery, and onion.
- **Optional spice blend additions: garlic, fresh or dried chiles, grainy mustard, cinnamon
Cut the vegetables to desired size and place into a 32-ounce sealable glass container, leaving space for the pickling liquid.
In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and spices and bring to a boil. Cook until a quarter of the liquid is reduced. If pickling firm vegetables, carefully pour boiling liquid directly over vegetables. If pickling softer vegetables, allow the liquid to cool to 170°F before pouring over vegetables. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator until ready to use or up to two weeks.