How to Make Quick Pickled Vegetables
Pickled vegetables are a staple at every meal. This quick pickle recipe will teach you how to pickle any vegetable you want in no time at all.
In my family, if we’re getting together to eat there is always a meat and cheese platter with some pickled vegetables on it.
Whether it’s a large holiday spread or a simple backyard BBQ pickled veggies are a perfect accompaniment to any meal or as a snack all on their own. They are also perfect as a garnish for adult beverages such as Bloody Marys!
We’re going to teach you everything you need to know to start pickling your own vegetables at home in just 24 to 48 hours.
By pickling your own vegetables, you have the freedom to customize flavors, control the spice level, and determine the crispness of your pickled vegetables.
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What is Quick Pickle?
Making pickles the original way is a chore. You have to spend all day canning, then wait for almost a month before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Using the quick pickle method takes less than half an hour and you are enjoying your pickled vegetables in anywhere from just a few hours to a few days! It is a super easy way to make all your own pickled vegetables.
The Basic Brine
Brine is the salty vinegar mixture that makes the pickled magic happen and it is very easy to make. All you need are these ingredients:
Vinegar and Water – For the best tasting brine use equal parts vinegar and water.
Salt – For every 1 cup of vinegar add 2 teaspoons salt. The salt must be non-iodized. We suggest kosher salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will turn vegetables a dark color.
Sugar – For every 1 cup of vinegar add 1 tablespoon sugar. We are only adding enough sugar to cut through the sharp flavor of the vinegar, we are not creating a “sweet” liquid. Alternatives to sugar are honey, agave, or maple syrup. If you are keto, you can use an artificial sweetener such as Stevia or Splenda.
Choose Your Vinegar
For your brine you will want to use white vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar. We do not suggest you use red wine vinegar as it will color your vegetables red.
Pickling Spices for Added Flavor
The spices you choose will be what adds the unique flavor to your pickled vegetables. This is where you can be creative and add your own personal spin to your dish. If you are unsure what you would like, you can buy a premixed pickling blend.
The fun part of making your own pickled vegetables is making different blends for each vegetable or blends for different uses. You may want to use a blend of these:
- Fresh Herbs – dill, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, basil
- Dried Herbs – dill, thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary
- Spices – Peppercorns, coriander seeds, cardamom, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, dill seed, whole allspice berries. Cloves, cinnamon, celery seeds, turmeric, celery seed, ground ginger, star anise, bay leaves
- Garlic cloves – diced, chopped, or minced
- Fresh peppers – jalapeno, serrano, habanero. Add more of less of these to control the spiciness of your vegetables
What Vegetables Can Be Pickled?
You can pickle any vegetable and fruit! Cauliflower, cucumber, asparagus, okra, green beans, jalapenos, onions, cabbage, squash, zucchini, radish, carrots, pineapples, peaches, and the list goes on. You name it and it can be pickled!
Check out our recipes for:
- Pickled Cauliflower
- Pickled Zucchini
- Pickled Red Onions
- Pickled Garlic
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Pickled Radish
- Pickled Carrots
- Pickled Cucumber
- Pickled Green Beans
Preparing your Vegetables for Pickling
There are few options for preparing your veggies before pickling. Firm, crunchy vegetables can be pickled as is, but to give them a slightly less “raw” feel you can partially cook them. You will want to cut them up the way you want them to go into the jar, then boil them for a few minutes to make them slightly tender.
Softer vegetables, like zucchini or cucumber, don’t need this treatment and can be pickled as is.
Another option for any kind of vegetable is to cut it into thin ribbons.
The easiest way to do this is to use a peeler to peel thin strips from your vegetable. Once it is cut into ribbons, you can pickle the thin slices. If you have very firm vegetables, like carrots or radishes, you can cut them into thin slices or thin sticks and use them as garnishes.
Steps for Pickling
- Prepare your vegetables and place them into your jars. If you are quick pickling something that can be used immediately such as red onions you can use a bowl .
- Mix together your brine, pickling spices, herbs, peppers, and any other ingredients you have chosen in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Pour the hot liquid into the jars, leaving about half an inch of empty space at the top of the jar. Screw the lid in place and let the jars cool completely before storing the vegetables in the refrigerator.
How Long to Pickle
The more firm the fruit or veggie, the longer it will take for the pickling brine to penetrate. Firm vegetables will need a minimum of 24-72 hours.
Thinner, or softer vegetables, such as cucumber ribbons or thinly sliced onions, can be ready in the time it takes the pickling liquid to cool.
It is totally up to you on how pickled you like you veggies to be. You’ll have to experiment to get it right.
Storing Pickled Vegetables
You can store your quick pickled vegetables in refrigerator for up to 2 months. Since they are not canned, they are not shelf stable and cannot be stored at room temperature.
Best Jars to Use
The best jars are wide mouth pint jars. These will give you enough room to put in and pull out your vegetables and also will have a good, tight lid. Since you are not canning, you don’t need to worry about getting a vacuum seal, but you will want to make sure the lid is on tight to prevent spillage.
How To Use Pickled Vegetables
You can pair quick pickled vegetables with almost anything. From a garnish for your favorite adult beverage to a side dish at a cookout. They are also a welcome addition to a charcuterie platter!
Try pairing them with these dishes and see why you can never go wrong when adding some pickled vegetables!
Basic Pickled Vegetables
- Divide the sliced vegetables evenly between 2 wide mouth pint mason jars.
- Add vinegars, water, garlic, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once the mixture reaches a boil remove it from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before pouring over the vegetables into each jar. Make sure you get an even distribution of spices in each jar.
- Let the mixture cool completely before screwing the lid on and placing the jars in the refrigerator. Let sit for 24-48 hours before eating.