Refrigerator Pickling, a Recipe {Crafted by the Seasons}

It is that time of year when gardens, markets and farm stands are bursting with an abundance of veggies; sometimes leaving us with the feeling, if I ever eat another {green bean, cucumber, tomato or zucchini} again it will be too soon!  This plentiful offering is a sure sign that summer is in full swing and allows us to fully partake in the height of the season.  But this abundance can also leave us at a quandary and one question we hear often is, what do you do with all of your {fill in the blank with your favorite excess veggie} ?   So over the next several weeks we will be sharing simple recipes from Chef Mike Hofmann at Hotel Washington focused on helping you savor and preserve the bounty of the season.   First up, a zesty brine for refrigerator pickling.

Refrigerator pickling is a simple way to preserve a bounty of seasonal vegetables.  You can use this easy process to preserve excess veggies for three to six months in your refrigerator.  Pickled veggies are a delicious addition to salads, used as a side dish, a zesty companion to a cheese plate, or enjoyed on their own.  This brine can be used for a variety of vegetables, including; green beans, beats, carrots and asparagus. 

{ brine for refrigerator pickled vegetables }

Preparation time: approx. 30 minutes
Pickling time: 4 to 7 days
Enjoy: 3 to 6 months

3       bay leaf
3       whole allspice
2       dry chili
2       cloves fresh garlic
1       tsp. yellow mustard seed
1       tsp. brown
½       tsp. black pepper
½       bunch fresh parsley
½       bunch fresh thyme
1       cup white sugar
1 ½     cup white distilled vinegar
1 ½     cup white distilled balsamic vinegar
3       cups water
        salt to taste

{ you will also need }

approximately 1 pound of trimmed or sliced vegetable
3 24oz wide mouth glass canning jars with lids (sanitize by boiling)
1 medium size sauce pan
a variety of measuring spoons and cups

{ how to }

Measure and add all dry ingredients, herbs and garlic to sauce pan.  Add water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 2 minutes.

In the meantime add trimmed veggies to jars.  Total weight of veggies will vary depending on which ones used.  Fill jars to about half full so that liquid covers their tops when poured in. 

Remove brine from heat and taste, add salt. 

For clear pickling, strain liquid and pour evenly into jars.  For enhanced flavor, ladle liquid and herbs into jars together.  Make sure tops of veggies are covered, pack with a spoon if needed.

Place jars in refrigerator, lids off and allow to cool.  Once cooled place and tighten lids and let set for four to seven days.  Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for three to six months.

Note: Always observe sanitary kitchen practices; make sure brine comes to a full boil to remove any bacteria.

{ enjoy! }

Cheers and gratitude,

Mike and Jo

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