Picking is one of the oldest methods of food preservation and has been around for thousands of years. As we head into the hot summer months, the shares will gradually become more plentiful. Pickling is the perfect skill to preserve those cucumbers, zucchini and other squash, carrots, daikon and more. This week the focus is on refrigerator pickling, then canning then fermentation.
Refrigerator pickling is the easiest method if you have the storage space in your refrigerator. It is also quick and easy to do on a weeknight and allows you to use what you have left over in your crisper. Put together the brine, bring it to a simmer then cool down. Cut the cucumbers, squash, onion, garlic, whatever you have and pack into a clean jar. Cover with the brine, close jar, then pop the jar in the refrigerator. In some cases, you can begin eating the pickles in 24 hrs! Keep in mind any canning recipe for pickles can be used as a refrigerator pickle. See one that catches your eye, make a jar or two and try it. You do not need to make 12. Have some extra squash or cucumbers? Make a small, quick batch that you can bring to a cookout or party, especially if you have a pickle lover in your circle of friends and family. That homemade jar of happiness will be appreciated.
Many recipes call for pickling cucumbers, I use whatever I have on hand. Pickles get gobbled up in our house. It is a handy shortcut to have a jar of homemade pickles when I want to make some pickle relish quickly. There are so many recipes, tricks and tips out there it can make you dizzy trying to keep them straight. Experiment and find what works for you. When I first started pickling I would make quarter or half batches of refrigerator pickle recipes, try them, make notes and save the ones I like.
If you enjoy reading about food history, these are quite good.
Here is a list of those recipes I have tried and played with. Enjoy!