End of Summer Pickles

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Hi, this is our last food post of the summer! Honestly I’m pretty relieved. Having a garden has been fun but I’m overwhelmed by the abundance of the harvest. I’m doing what I can to salvage my tomatoes and cukes but there’s just so many! Once I have more mouths to feed this should be easier. Anyway. I’m really looking forward to some cozy ass recipes for this fall and winter. For now, I’ll let Addie tell you about pickles:

Basic Refrigerator Pickles

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At this point in the harvest season, it’s easy to become fatigued by all of the fruits and vegetables you have coming in in your garden. Taking small easy steps for preservation can save you the heartache of having to toss the veggies you just couldn’t consume before they’d spoiled (which has happened to me more than once this summer). There are tons of preservation techniques to give a new life to your fresh produce, but pickling is probably one of the easier ones. I’m advocating here for quick refrigerator pickles, which are super easy and nearly fool proof because you don’t have to deal with the sanitizing and sealing that goes one with true canning and pickling for shelf stable pickles. It also means that if you want pickles with dinner tonight, make these in the afternoon, and they’ll be ready. 

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Basic Brine

Ingredients
– 1 part sugar
– 2 parts water
– 3 parts vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar)

Method
Bring brine to a boil in a sauce pan. Pour over vegetables and any pickling spices while still boiling hot. Make sure to fill container so that vegetables are completely submerged in the pickling liquid. Weight down with a plate or a bowl so that vegetables stay submerged. Wait until liquid has completely cooled to before putting lids on containers. Once cooled and lidded, put pickles directly in the fridge. Pickles will keep in the fridge for about 6 months. Use your best judgment, but I used 2 cups sugar, 4 cups water, and 6 cups vinegar for three quart-sized mason jars worth of vegetables.


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Cucumbers

Cucumbers are the obvious pickle, and by now I think most people know what kind of cucumber pickles they like. Sweet, dill, spicy, you can probably easily judge what types of seasonings and spices you’d like to add to these before pickling. Here is what I used that really almost encompasses all three flavor profiles:

– Salt
– Thinly sliced white onion
– 2 large cloves garlic
– Chili Flake
– Whole black peppercorns
– A few small slices of jalapeño
– Dill
– Basil
– Curry Powder
– Fennel Seeds

PICKLES-9If you want to really highlight the sweet, add some whole cloves and cinnamon stick. If you want spicier, add more jalapeño. If you want a little bit more straight dill, just go with garlic, peppercorns, dill and salt.

I sliced my cucumbers thinly, so they would pickle a bit faster. Spears work well, too. I grew pickling cucumbers in my garden, but other cucumber varieties will work just as well.

These pickles will be ready to snack on within about 30 minutes of sitting in hot brine.


Green Beans

Green beans are a great thing to pickle because they are so crunch and snappy. They are truly an abundant crop, so they beg to be preserved in some fashion. The only disadvantage is these may end up taking a little longer if you’re looking for a strong vinegar flavor. You can use these the same way you might use any other pickled veg, but mine will be reserved for snacking, cheese plates, and chopped up in potato salad.

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– Salt
– Thinly sliced white onion
– 2 large cloves garlic
– Chili Flake
– Whole black peppercorns
– A few small slices of jalapeño
– Basil
– Fennel seeds

Make sure to trim beans before pickling, and cut in half it they are especially long. You want to make sure they will all fit underneath the brine.

These will have a milder flavor right away, but will become more vinegary as they sit.


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Jalapeños

This is one of the best ways to preserve these peppers. It’s great to have pickled jalapeños on hand for tacos/nachos, chili, bloody marys. They will still be pretty aggressively spicy, so use these only in the same way you would use jalapeños raw.

– Salt
– Thinly sliced white onion
– 2 large cloves garlic
– Basil

Slice jalapeños thinly for the best effect. This will make for easier use in the long run. I had some jalapeños that did not come in too spicy in my garden, but when they share the same brine as really hot jalapeños they will pick up their heat.

These will still be pretty hot right away, but will mellow out and become a bit more complex as they sit.

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About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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