Posts tagged: pickling

How To Pickle – The American Way

How To Pickle - The American Way
How To Pickle – The American Way. Photo – Pixabay (PD)

I’ve still to meet the one person that doesn’t like pickles. Pickles are already deeply rooted into American culture and they seem to be to everyone’s liking. And why not? Not only do they make pretty much everything taste better, but they’re also exquisite on their own. The most common pickle in the U.S. is the cucumber, but you can pickle almost every vegetable imaginable: carrots, beets, green tomatoes, okra etc. And there are alternatives to canning, you can store them in the fridge just as easily. Let’s take a look at the easiest way of making awesome in-house pickles.

Get the veggies ready to pickle.

Wash the vegetables carefully and cut them into the desired shapes or sizes. I personally recommend chopping them into thin slices, so that they are easier to reach for and snack on in case you feel like it. 🙂 Some vegetables will perform extremely well during the pickling process if they have been blanched (briefly boiled in water) previously. Blanching is excellent for green beans, ginger, peppers, okra and Brussels sprouts. But cucumbers, turnips or tomatoes shouldn’t be blanched at all. If you have your heart set on blanching, this is how you do it: in a boiling pot add 16 cups of water per pound of prepared vegetables. After the water reaches boiling point, add the vegetables and cover with the lid. Let them cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Next place the boiled vegetables into a container filled with ice cold water, which you’ll drain afterwards.


Sort the vegetables.

cucumbers Once you’re done with preparing and blanching (if necessary) the veggies, you can sort them out in 6-pin size (2-cup) canning jars, or same size containers made of heatproof plastic or tempered glass. Make sure the ones you buy come with leads and can be tightly sealed. You can also use cans instead of jar-like containers if you plan on storing the pickles at room temperature.


Adding flavorings comes down to personal taste. There are plenty of recipies around for both dry and fresh flavorings, but if you feel like experimenting, go ahead. The sky’s the limit and you may come up with a million bucks recipe that could make you rich! But for now, here are look at 2 tasty examples for both fresh and dry flavorings:

Fresh flavorings (amount per pint jar): 1 fresh Habanero (or Jalapeno) pepper, 2-4 sprigs sliced or whole Dill, 1/2 whole large clove, sliced Garlic, 2 – 3 inch strips fresh and peeled or 1/2 teaspoon prepared Horseradish, 1 sprig fresh Oregano, 1 tablespoon sliced Shallot. The overall taste of the pickles will be will by spicy and satisfyingly fresh.

flavoring Dry flavorings (amount per pint jar): 1 Bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon Celery seed, 1 – 3 small whole Dried Chile peppers, 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seed, 1/2 teaspoon Dill seed, 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seed, 1/2 teaspoon Pickling spice, 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric. This recipe gives absolutely delicious pickles, and the unique taste is one of my personal favorites.

Making and adding the brine.

The next thing you need to do is to prepare the brine. It’s basically salt water, which will help preserve and add flavor to your pickles. The mixture can be prepared according to personal taste. You can make it sweet, sour or in between. And this is how you do it:

Sweet pickle brine (6 cups): Mix 3 cups of distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar), 3 of cups water, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a large saucepan (or similar pot). Once the mixture starts to boil, stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Let it boil for 2 – 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Sour Pickle brine (6cups): mix 3 cups of distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar), 3 of cups water, 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sea salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a large saucepan. Once it starts to boil, start stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Boil for 2 – 3 minutes more and remove from the heat.

After you’re done making the brine, all is left is to fill the jars or cans with the concoction. Pour the brine to within half-a-inch if the rim of the jar or can, so that the vegetables are completely immersed in it. If you’re making fridge pickles and using jars, you should refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving (turnips and okra require a minimum of 1 week). In this case, the pickles will last in the fridge before spoiling for about 1 month. If you’re planning on storing canned pickles at roomed temperature, they will last for about a year if the optimum conditions are met: preparing the pickles according to the process, respecting the terms and conditions of storage and seal tightly each can.

pickling in jar

Pickling your own vegetables is fun and easy to do. And it’s a skill you might want to get accustomed to, because the way the economy is heading, pickles could become a rare good rather than a commodity. So making your own it’ll be the only available option.

Awesome Survival Skill: Pickling

Awesome Survival Skill: Pickling
Awesome Survival Skill: Pickling – Graphic © Background photo: Pexels (PD)

Mmmm.. the delightful smell of simmering vinegar, dill and mustard seed. It’s a smell that never fails to transport me back to my childhood, being driven out of the house by the smell of my mother’s day-long pickling marathons. The smell may be identical, but our pickling styles are different. I use more garlic than she did. And I generally can in smaller batches I think.

It’s a good idea to make sure pickling is a part of your food storage skills. It’s a really old method of preserving, one that takes advantage of natural elements and can be done with really low energy inputs. The vinegar and salt of the pickling solution form an environment that is too harsh for the human killing bugs to survive in. Pickling has crossed into many different food cultures. There are the chutneys in India and the saurkraut in Germany. Kimchi, relish, kosher dill, sweets….. I love them all. Most recipes are great bounty-busters. If you’ve got too much of a good thing, and need to get it put away cheap and fast, vinegar, salt and sugar are as quick and cheap as it gets. Differing the spice choices and fermenting times gives you a wide range of tastes to choose from, giving you a final product that best suits your needs. Don’t mess around with the vinegar ratios though, the acidity is what’s keeping botulism at bay.

While I’m busy cleaning up the explosion of dill seeds in my kitchen, (what, normal people don’t let their 3-year-old play with the dry dill heads?) Enjoy some pickling recipes. Go crazy this summer and experiment with pickled and fermented foods. They are good for you and great additions to storage food.



• 2 heads Napa cabbage
• 1 or 2 daikon radishes
• 1 1/4 cups sea salt
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 5 green onions, chopped
• 1/2 small white onion, minced
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 5 tablespoons Korean chile powder – in my experience, optional. It won’t have as big a kick, but it is kinder to my tastebuds if I sub in a smaller portion of a more familiar chile powder.

Wash and salt the veg. Give it 6 hours in the salt. Mix together the spices, coat the leaves with it. (Use gloves to protect your hands.) Let it ferment for 4 days. A large crock is good for this, or a large glass bowl, use what you have.

Pickled Green Beans (Dilly Beans)

• 2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
• 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1 clove garlic, peeled
• 1 bunch fresh dill weed
• 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Boil everything but the green beans, pack them raw into hot jars. Ladle the simmering liquid onto the beans, hot water bath.

Pickled carrots

A great example of small-batch pickling. She’s pickling 1 pound of carrots, and this little bit of food preservation can be done in as little as 10 minutes. Plus, Marisa is a fun read, even about something as straightforward as pickling.

Go forth, and pickle something!

By Calamity Jane