Fridge Essential: Quick Pickles
I’m pickle obsessed. I love how they manage to be mouth puckering sour and still have elements of sweet, spice and even undertones of umami. I love eating them as ingredients in sandwiches, on burgers and as garnishes on dishes. I’ve even been known to drink the pickle juice at the bottom of the jar, vinegar is good for you, right?
My pickle obsession goes back to my childhood. My mother would spend several weeks in late summer and early autumn pickling and preserving vegetables for use during the rest of the year and for gift giving. It would take weeks. Our house would be filled with that sweet acidic smell of brine, there would be jars upon hot jars filled with salted vegetables waiting for their batch in the brine then sealed for a couple months of hibernation.
As much as I would love to carry on in the same vein, I just don’t have space to make and store them. More importantly, she did loads, I would not have the use for that many pickles. Before you suggest that I make some for myself then start a business to sell the rest, I’ve been there (not with pickles mind you)
So what is a boy to do? Quick Pickles to the answer. These are pickles that you make, are ready to eat in about 24 hours, they are stored in the fridge, stay ‘fresh’ for about 2 months (if they last that long) and are super easy.
What’s probably the best thing about these pickles is you can mix and match the spices and herbs with the veg. The ultimate kitchen alchemy project. Go on…
Small head of white cabbage
6 large jalapeno peppers
2 onions (one red one white)
400ml rice vinegar
4 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns (I like a mix of black white and pink)
3 large jam jars with lids
Wash jars & lids in hot soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry
Prep the veg. As a general rule, you want to use the freshest veg possible for these quick pickles.
Wash and dry the Jalapenos and slice thinly. Peel onions and slice thinly. Remove the core of the cabbage and slice thinly.
All the ingredients
Clean Jars and the veg
Slice your veg evenly
Pack the vegetables into the jars, making sure there is a 1/2 inch of space from the rim of the jar to the tops of the vegetables. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing.
Make the pickling brine: Combine the vinegar, water, salt, sugar and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Set aside and cool bit till just warm. Pour the brine over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. Make sure the veg are completely submerged.
For the cabbage, you are going to need to remove air bubbles. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if necessary.
Place the lids on the jars and screw on tight.
Boiling the brine
Veg with the brine ready to be sealed
Now seal, cool and store in the fridge
These pickles are not for long-term storage in the fridge…. At max, they should be kept for 2 months. Make sure that the vegetables are completely submerged.
Have fun with the veg… most anything will work like this if you plan to keep them for longer than a week you need to use firm fruit & vegs like carrots, cauliflowers, celery, radishes, cucumbers, mooli and watermelon rinds. You can pickle fruit and another soft veg, bear in mind that they will deteriorate and fall apart after time. That said… I’ve never quickly pickled anything except for a head of cabbage that was in a jar more than a month.
Change up the flavours by adding spices and herbs to the veg before you add the brine. Try fresh dill, thyme, a small chilli (in cabbage), coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, or a small thumb of ginger. Add a touch of turmeric or smoked paprika for colour and a bit of flavour too.