Deciding what to do with garden veggies can be a real pickle

Marinated cucumber salad is a great way to use an abundance of fresh vegetables from the garden. It is a quick way to extend their freshness and flavour and to add variety to your meals. | Betty Ann Deobald photo

Are quick refrigerator pickles a pickle or a salad? These quick-made vegetable pickles can be ready to enjoy within a few hours but must be used within two to three weeks.

With the tart vinegar saltiness of a pickle, they are stored in the refrigerator, like a marinated salad.

They are not canned using a heat process so cannot be stored for a long time. They must be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within a few weeks. It is very important to label and date when your quick pickles should be used by.

When there is an abundance of fresh vegetables this is a quick way to extend their freshness and flavour, and to add variety to your meals.

As with any pickles, vinegar is a key ingredient. Any type of vinegar can be used from white pickling vinegar, apple cider, balsamic or rice vinegar. To prevent harmful bacteria or mould growth, the acidity of the vinegar must be at least five percent acetic acid. This information is usually given on the front label of the vinegar bottle.

A general rule is two-thirds vinegar to one-third water for the pickle brine. For the best pickles, use soft or bottled water because minerals in hard water can affect the taste and colour of pickles. Use non-iodized salt, such as pickling salt or kosher salt. Do not used regular table salt because it usually contains iodine and can cause the vegetables to turn a dark colour.

For the best flavour, use fresh spices. When making the brine use a saucepan that will not react to the vinegar, such as food-grade, unchipped enamelware, glass, stainless steel, or stoneware.

Please note the following recipes are not for long-term canning storage. Keep refrigerated and use within two to three weeks.

Marinated cucumber salad

This pickle salad is made with fresh vegetables from the garden.

  • 8 c. sliced cucumbers, unpeeled 1 L
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 c. sliced onions 500 mL
  • 2 c. sliced carrots 500 mL
  • optional: add cauliflower, snow peas and/or celery
  • 2 c. white vinegar, at least five percent acetic acid 500 mL
  • 2 c. white sugar 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. pickling salt, scant 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. mustard seed 10 mL

Heat vinegar, sugar and salt, to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat and cool. Pack vegetables loosely in a glass jar or two-quart sealer, add mustard seed and pour cool liquid over.

Cover with a lid, label and date.

If the brine does not cover the vegetables, don’t add any water, the vegetables will eventually be covered. Keeps well in the refrigerator for at least three weeks.

Adapted from Cooking With Care cookbook p 17; submitted by Lynda Auramenko.

Refrigerator pickled dill carrots

Cauliflower and cucumber could also be combined with the carrots. Yield: 1 pint, 500 mL

  • 1/2 c. water 125 mL
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2/3 c. white vinegar at least five percent acetic acid 150 mL
  • 1 tsp. pickling salt 5 mL
  • several sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander seed 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard seed 1 mL
  • 2-3 peppercorns
  • 12-15 young spring carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4-1/2 small hot red chile or jalapenos, optional

Sterilize a pint (500 mL) sealer by placing upside down in a pan of hot water, heat water to boiling, simmer for five minutes. Place on a rack or towel to cool.

In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, add garlic. Simmer five minutes. Add vinegar and salt, bring to boil, stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

Place a few sprigs of dill, seeds, peppercorns and garlic in sealer. Pack jar tightly full of carrots and add chiles.

Bring brine back to a boil, pour over carrots to cover completely, let cool, cover, label, date and refrigerate.

The pickles will taste good in a few hours, but better after a couple days. Will keep for about a month.

Optional, add small pieces of cauliflower or cucumbers, quartered lengthwise. Adapted from foodnetwork.com.

Quick pickled beets

Pickled beets are a traditional favourite. This is a quick way to make a jarful of pickled beets. Delicious served with any roasted meat, sausage or burgers.

  • 6-8 beets (about 1 1/2 – 2 diameter)
  • 1/2 small cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/3 c. water 75 mL
  • 2/3 c. apple cider vinegar 150 mL
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed 75 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL

Trim off beet tops, leaving one inch (two and a half centimetres) of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of colour. Wash thoroughly.

Place in boiling water and cook until tender about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and discard cooking liquid.

Cool beets.

Trim roots and stems and slip off skins.

Slice into quarter-inch slices and pack into a sterilized pint sealer. Add cinnamon stick and cloves.

Heat water and vinegar in microwave or on stove until steaming hot. Add sugar and salt, stir to dissolved. Pour over beets, cool.

Add a piece of parchment paper to hold beets under the liquid.

Cover, label and date when to be used by. Refrigerate for at least one hour before eating. Store in refrigerator for two to three weeks.

Quick carrot and zucchini spiralized pickles

These pickles have a sweet and sour Asian flavour that is great added to a lettuce salad or served with burgers, sandwiches, wraps or spring rolls.

  • 1 c. carrot 250 mL
  • 1 c. zucchini 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. water 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. white sugar 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. rice wine vinegar 175 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pickling salt 1 mL

Place water, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add vinegar, cool.

Spiralize carrot and zucchini, or use a vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips. Pack into a sterilized glass jar.

Pour pickling mixture over the zucchini and carrot, making sure the mixture covers them completely.

Leave the jar to cool for three to four hours and then place in the refrigerator. Allow to chill at least one hour before serving.

Note: Rice vinegar has only a four percent acetic acid content so these pickles must be used within a week and kept refrigerated. Adapted from bellyrumbles.com

Quick pickled radishes

Quick-pickled radishes are great as a snack, added to a charcuterie board, taco, or sandwich. Each sliced radish is just a little bit sweet, slightly crunchy and has a bit of zing.

  • 8 oz. approx. 2 c. radishes 500 mL
  • 2/3 c. water 150 mL
  • 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar 75 mL
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed 7 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. pickling salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns 2 mL
  • 1 bay leaf

With a mandoline or vegetable peeler, cut radishes into very thin slices. Place radishes in a sterilized one-pint (half-litre) glass jar. In a small saucepan bring remaining ingredients to a boil. Cool liquid, then ladle over radishes. Place a folded square of parchment paper over radishes to hold them under the liquid.

Cover, label, date, and refrigerate overnight. Adapted from tasteofhome.com.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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