5 Tips for Making Homemade Pickles
Preservation techniques such as pickling will help you build a well-stocked larder, so you can enjoy fresh flavors even when a vegetable is not in season.
- Experiment with a variety of spices, herbs, and vegetables to suit your personal preferences. Try mixing it up using the vegetables that are currently in season in your growing region, or start with farmers’ market vegetables like garlic cloves, carrots, green beans, baby leeks, jalapeno peppers, red onions, watermelon rind, and more. The spice mixture can be adjusted to your tastes with variations such as adding dill seed, coriander seeds, or even turmeric for its bright orange color.
- Design your own brining liquid flavor profiles. You’ll want to use vegetables in season, but you can use dried herbs and spices to capture flavors from another time of year. You might do earthy flavors like oregano or rosemary and brighter flavors such as chili pepper, peppercorns, or fresh dill for winter.
- Get an even dice. Whichever vegetables you choose, cut them into uniform sizes for even pickling. The quantity of vegetables is proportional to the size of pickling jar used; both can be varied according to your needs. When preparing your vegetables, cut them to a size that is as uniform as possible for consistent pickling.
- Try different vinegars. While most pickling brine starts with white vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, herbs, and spices, you can also try champagne vinegar for its neutral flavor and ability to marry seamlessly into the brine.
- Refrigerate for longer shelf life. Pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.
Chef Thomas Keller’s Homemade Pickle Recipe
- 200 grams sugar
- 400 grams water
- 200 grams white wine vinegar
- Thyme sprigs
- Mustard seeds
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 85 grams cauliflower florets
- Red pearl onions, halved
- 100 grams cucumbers, oblique cut
- 75 grams radishes, quartered
- 35 grams jingle bell peppers or other small variety
- Cutting board
- Paring knife
- Canning jar
- 3-quart saucepot
- Add the mixed vegetables to the canning jar.
- Combine water, vinegar, sugar, thyme, mustard seeds, and garlic in a sauce pot and bring it to a simmer.
- Pour the hot pickling liquid over vegetables to submerge them and seal the jar. Chill and store the jar in the refrigerator.
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