For thousands of years, humans have used pickling as a reliable and delicious method of preserving food. Almost any kind of vegetable can be pickled and turned into an irresistible and healthy snack. In fact, pickling foods is a great way to preserve their antioxidant properties. And the best part is it’s actually a very simple and quick process! While the perfect pickle is completely up to preference, here’s my go-to recipe for pickling vegetables at home.
Growing up in a Vietnamese household, one of the most common items on the dinner table was pickled carrots and daikon radish. Whether I was stuffing it into a banh mi sandwich or eating it as a side dish, this delicious pickled mix was a go-to in our house. However, as I said before, you can pickle almost any kind of vegetable, with the most common being cucumbers, carrots, beets and cabbage.
To begin the pickling process, choose your desired vegetables and begin cutting them up to fill a mason jar. The size of the mason jar depends on how much you are looking to pickle. I love my pickles like you wouldn’t believe, so I usually opt for quart size jars. It’s important not to overstuff the jar, as you want to make sure all surface areas of the veggies can soak in the pickling mix.
The Pickling Mix
Once you’re finished preparing your jars full of vegetables, it’s time to begin making the pickling mix. If you’re new to pickling (which you probably are if you are reading this), try experimenting with different pickling mix flavors from time to time. Some people like adding chilis to their jars to give it a bit of a kick while others prefer a bit more sugar for that extra sweet pickle flavor. Dill is a great ingredient to add to almost any jar. For my own palette, I like to keep things simple:
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 4 tablespoons sugar
Once combined, bring the pickling mix to a low boil in a small pot. Pour the pickling over your mason jars, making sure to cover the vegetables completely. Close the jars tightly and let them cool before placing them in the fridge. While they will still taste delicious after 6-8 hours, I’ve found that letting them rest overnight gives the veggies the best chance to soak up all the juices and become more complex in flavor! Left in the fridge, they can last up to 3-4 weeks.
Done correctly, pickling your own vegetables at home can be a rewarding and healthy experience, especially if you live in an area with extreme winter temperatures. Being able to pull garden fresh vegetables out of your fridge for a quick snack can be a delicious way to keep your body healthy and happy.