Making pickles is a lot easier than you think. In fact, pickling almost anything is a great, low-cost way to “control” your vegetables (organic, local etc.) without having to drop $12 a jar for the ones at the local Co-Op. I know, I know, we should support these local, small-batch folks, and we do and love it but when it comes to pickling, think “stretching” your produce a little longer so you don’t have to waste it, plus give you and your family something delicious to add to your next cheese plate, dinner part, or Bloody Mary. You will get points for doing it yourself too.
I don’t mean to brag but I just pickled some chard stems…no joke.
The spice that I use has it’s base in a Charcuterie book I have been working through the past few years but I have added a couple of tweaks, not because I am better, rather to our own personal taste and what we typically have more of around our home.
Before you panic and think you have to commit to a half day with your extended family to pickle over a hot stove, sterilized jars, and wet towels, we should start with just an everyday refrigerator pickle. You can do this technique for all kinds of odds and ends you have leftover from your CSA box or the veg tray you had extra of from a recent picnic. Instead of throwing it out, pickle it!
Note I have a two-part recipe here. First is the spice “blend” that you can make a full jar of and have on hand and the second is the liquid to add the blend to when you are ready to do a quick fridge pickle.
Everyday Pickling Spice Blend
2 T each peppercorn, mustard seed, coriander seed, pepper flake, allspice berries, whole clove.
1 T each ground mace, ginger.
2 small cinnamon sticks
24 bay leaves
Combine in a jar and put in your spice cabinet and take out whenever. It most likely would never really go bad!
Everyday Pickling Liquid
5 T kosher salt
1 t dill seed
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 t black peppercorns
1 T pickling spice blend
5 cups water
1 bunch dill
Optional: small handful garlic cloves and fresh chili.
Boil everything but dill and garlic (if using).
Pour over jar of veg. Could be cucumbers, asparagus, carrots, watermelon rinds, chard stems, onions, etc. Add optional garlic, chili’s, etc. and put in fridge. Will taste great after a few hours but even better after a few days. Probably good for 6 weeks!