If you love pickles like we do, you’ve pretty much always got several jars in your fridge. In addition to cukes, we’ll typically have store bought capers, olives, and pepperoncini. That list is a great source for fridge pickling brine you can now add to carrots, chiles, green onions, green beans, radishes, garlic, and whatever else strikes your fancy.
Got a favorite brand with a just right pickle flavor? Save that brine and jar, and replace those kosher dills with a mix of jalapeno, garlic, onions and carrots. Top things off with fresh vinegar if needed, and you can add additional pickling spices as well if you like. Allow your new batch to marinate for 2 or 3 days, and you’re back in business. Fridge pickled goodies will last a month or two, although they’re so good, they’re unlikely to survive that long.
Try something a bit outside the box, like pearl onions in leftover caper brine, or cherry tomatoes in pepperoncini brine; experimentation is bound to lead to fresh ideas and new favorites. Let that outside the box thinking color your spice selection as well. Here’s the perfect chance to experiment with a single jar; develop something you love and you can expand to a batch run later. In addition to providing wonderful treats for a Bloody Mary or martini, pickled veggies add great zing to everything from salads or omelettes to soups and stews.
Next time you’re in the produce aisle, see what looks good and grab a little extra to pickle with. As always, carefully inspect and chose top quality for this endeavor. Try something that maybe you think you don’t like or aren’t that familiar with, like Bok Choi, Fennel, or turnips. A quick pickle brings a very tasty note to an otherwise dull character; try pickled celery and you’ll see what I mean.
Once you’re home, thoroughly rinse your produce in clean, cold water. For radishes, carrots, chiles, green and sweet onions and cukes, top, skin, seed, core, etc, and then cut them into whatever form you prefer your pickles in.
Fo green beans, corn, or peas, a quick blanch and shock will help preserve texture and color. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil, and have an ice bath standing by that, (50%-50% ice and water).
Toss your veggies into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, the transfer them with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice bath. Leave them there until they’ve cooled completely. Remove and you’re ready to pickle.
When you’re ready to pickle, pour the remaining brine into a clean bowl or pitcher. Wash your jars thoroughly, and either sterilize them in your blanching bath, or run them through your dishwasher. Do the same with lids and rings.
For whatever you prepare, make sure they’re well packed, with at least an inch of brine above the tops of the contents, and seal the jars well.
Oh, and don’t forget to dust the rim of your Bloody Mary glass with chile salt.
2 thoughts on “We can pickle that!”
ok–now this is BIZARRE — I just left a message for C -and here is your post— made LOTS LOTS LOTS of pickled fish and am finding it too salty for my and John’s taste buds…..any idea how to correct this? I have three LARGE containers, just drained 1/2 of the juice off of one and was going to try adding 1/2 cup sugar to the remaining juice and see where that takes me after a day. I added LOTS of extra onion as we really like that almost as much as the pickled fish…have read that extra onion can help but that was added at the beginning. I even omitted 1/2 cup of the initial brine salt…… gracias!! Lissa
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It’s meant to be, Liss!
The number one cure for this ill is to harken back to how folks reconstitute salt cod, or bacalao.
You gotta soak the fish in fresh, cold water; the colder, the better. The cold is intended to help the fish remain firm while soaking of course. So, cover the portion you want to use with a couple inches of water and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Remove and taste; repeat with fresh water if needed.
The problem with soaking is that it can mess with the texture of delicate fish. Some folks think buttermilk is better than water for this process but it ain’t necessarily so; the acidity of the buttermilk can act to soften the fish too much.
Adding sugar may mask the taste, but there’s no chemical affinity as far as I’m aware, so it won’t remove the salt per se.
Hope this helps!