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Learning how to pickle vegetables may sound intimidating to but it is truly easy as pie. All you will need aside from fresh vetables are three ingredients: water, vinegar and pickling salt.
These three ingredients are the golden trinity of vegetable pickling and will be used to make a brine. Pickling salt is essential, as it is made without iodine and anticaking agents used in regular table salt. This helps preserve the clearness of the brine.
Popular vegetables for pickling are cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower. In reality, you can pickle any vegetable you would like. So are you ready to get started? Read on.
Easy Way To Pickle Vegetables: What You Will Need
There are many ways of preserving vegetables but pickling is a simple way of retaining the crispness of summer vegetables and boosting their nutritional value (thanks to the fermentation process that takes place once the vegetables are jarred).
Pickling vegetables involves using the same equipment you would use when canning and preserving fruit. That means having plenty of sterilized jars and lids on hand, as well as salt, vinegar and water.
Making The Brine
Just like preserving cherries, you will need to make a liquid that goes in the jar along with your summer bounty. For pickling vegetables, you need to make a brine. As a rule of thumb, you will use a 2 to 1 ration of water and vinegar. An easy recipe: mix 6 cups of water, 3 cups of vinegar and 1/2 pickling salt. Bring all ingredients to a boil.
Photo by Sleepy Neko/Flickr
Preparing Your Vegetables
Before putting your vegetables in sterilized jars, you will have to blanch them. Wash, peel and chop your vegetables to the desired size then blanch them in boiling water. Let your vegetables cool before putting them in the jars.
Final Steps For Pickling Vegetables
Place the vegetables in the jars leaving at least 1/2 inch space at the top. Fill with the brine, keeping the 1/2 inch space at the top. Leaving the 1/2 inch of space at the top is important because it leaves enough space in the jar for the pressure that will be produced once the vegetables start fermenting. Let the brine cool before placing the sterilized lids on the jars.
For easy pickling, put the jars in the refrigerator. The vegetables will be ready in two weeks and will keep for at least 4 months.
If you want to preserve your pickled vegetables longer, you will have to process your jars in simmering water following the same steps involved in preserving strawberries.