Summertime is when you want to do as little as possible, especially where cooking is involved. But it’s also the time when we all are enjoying barbecues, picnics and sandwiches more than any other time of the year. Pickles are the friend of all of these things, require no special care and are naturally a deterrent to bacteria, and BONUS…these Quick Pickled Vegetables are super fast to make so you can have pickles the same day you need them without any canning skills necessary.
What are Quick Pickled Vegetables?
Traditional pickled vegetables require either pressurized canning or water bath canning to make them shelf stable and safe to eat, but Quick Pickled Vegetables take five minutes to make and are ready to eat right away. They are made with a simple brine and stored in the fridge rather than on a shelf. Once refrigerated, they are good for months if not a year or more.
How To Make Quick Pickled Vegetables
If you can play Jenga, you can make Quick Pickled Vegetables. Easy Peasy.
- Pack vegetables in a jar so they fit tightly, layering bay leaves, peppercorns and sliced or minced garlic in between.
- Make the brine: Bring vinegar, water, salt and optional sugar to a boil and pour over vegetables. Once they sit for 10 minutes or more, they are good to go.
What Can Be Pickled?
Literally any vegetable. I have pickled jalapenos, jicama, green tomatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, okra, cucumbers, squash, watermelon rinds, mustard seeds. Most of these I pickle without any sugar or honey. I skip the sweetener on most of these, but squash, watermelon rinds and mustard seeds like a little sweetness which can certainly be in the form of honey or maple syrup. The brine will not be as clear, but it will be delicious. The mustard seeds are amazing but require whole different technique so stay tuned for that at another time.
How Can You Use Quick Pickled Vegetables?
Besides the obvious answer…straight out of the jar, we regularly keep pickled jalapenos and carrots (AKA escabeche) to top off Mexican food. Pickled turnips and cucumbers are great on Greek-inspired sandwiches, salads or on a Mezze platter. Pickled onions add a little crunch and bite to wraps. Pickled okra is a classic on the Southern relish tray and is the perfect interesting burger buddy. Quick pickle a mix of cauliflower, celery, peppers and carrots with or without red pepper flakes and you have your own homemade version of Giardiniera to create a muffaletta (add olives to the mix for this) or any Italian sandwich. The sweet versions of pickled squash and watermelon rinds are AMAZING on a charcuterie boards, especially alongside sharp cheeses.
Tips for Making Quick Pickled Vegetables
- First tip, even though I make a little commission from Amazon for referring you to products, I can’t recommend them for buying jars. They are WAAAYYY more expensive than simply going to Target or JoAnn Fabric (look for those coupons). I buy them in 12 packs because they are only around $1 a jar or even less. I use them to store food in as well.
- Pick up Wide Mouth Mason Jars instead of typical jars with narrow mouth. Arranging (AKA jenga-ing) vegetables is much easier this way.
- Pick up a wide mouth canning funnel to make pouring hot brine easier and safer.
- Make sure your jars and lids are freshly washed before starting the process.
Quick Pickled Vegetables
One Pint Mason Jar (preferably wide-mouth)
Vegetables (Whole, sliced or in sticka) to pack tightly in jar
5 cloves garlic, thinly sluced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns or 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup organic white vinegar
1/3 cup filtered water
1 tbsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried dill, optional
1 tsp mustard seeds, optional
1/3 cup honey, optional
- Pack veggies tightly in jar tucking in bay leaves, garlic slices and pepper along the way.
- Bring vinegar water, salt and spices and honey, if using, to a rolling boil.
- Carefully pour boiling vinegar mixture over veggies to completely cover. Discard any unused brine.
- Cap tightly and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Refrigerate once jar is room temperature. Serve immediately or store in fridge indefinitely.