Monday, September 20, 2010

Make Pickles In An Hour ~ UPDATED 9/24/10

NOTE:  I  made these and I'm not in love with them -but- to be fair I must admit  I think it's through my own error.
  1. I think I added too much 'vinegar' in the vinegar to water ratio.
  2. I didn't realize that I bought the Bread & Butter pickling spice when I wanted Dill (I am no fan of bread & butter pickles)
  3. Before last night I never made a pickle in my life
  4. I used regular 'ole salad cucumbers that I bought at from Shop & Save on sale 2 for $0.88 -even so- They did turned out very crisp after sitting in the refrigerator over night.
Prep Schools: how to make quick pickles -


Quick pickles,  are done for flavor rather than preservation. The results are much quicker (hence, the name), but the flavors are not as complex and they won't keep nearly as long. Still, the rewards of quick pickles are many, and with very little effort you could be enjoying them before the sun goes down tonight.

Steps to follow:

Because we're not making these pickles to be preserved, we can avoid the laborious canning process with its boiling and sterilizing and its accompanying nagging fear of lurking botulism. We're simply going to make an acidic brine and use it to soak our vegetables.

Just about anything can be quick pickled. Cucumbers are the most common choice, but any nice crisp vegetable will do: green beans, cauliflower, carrots, shallots, onions, asparagus — they all make terrific pickles.

Because there are so many different and subtle variations in pickle preparations, everything from the dilution of the vinegar to the inclusion or not of sugar to the selection of flavoring spices, we recommend starting with actual recipes rather than just diving right in. We'll give you a good one at the end of this, and the Internet is filled with gazillions more.

The steps you take:

1 Make the brine: The main ingredient in pickle brine is vinegar. White vinegar is most common, but you can also use cider vinegar, wine vinegar, pretty much anything except balsamic, which is too syrupy and would overpower your pickles. Some recipes call for straight vinegar, others dilute it with up to 3 times its volume with water.

Salt is nearly always included in the brine. It draws moisture out of the vegetables, and it encourages the growth of useful bacteria. Amounts vary, from less than a teaspoon to over a tablespoon per cup of liquid.

Many recipes include sweeteners. Sugar is most common, but you'll also see brown sugar and honey. Sweeteners are most often used when vinegar is not diluted with water.

And finally, spices. Many commercial "pickling spice" blends are available and work very well. The most common ingredients are mustard seed, dill seed, peppercorns and garlic, but any spices can be used.

The process is simple: combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar completely.

2 Prep your vegetables: Remember that the entire pickle is eaten, so depending on what you're pickling, you'll want to trim off any inedible pieces. This could be the ends of green beans or the root ends of onions or garlic. You may also prefer to cook some of your vegetables, like asparagus, first. Also, if you're cutting your vegetables into pieces, make sure they're all relatively the same size to ensure the consistency of the final product.

3 Submerge your pickles: Place your vegetables in a clean, dry glass container, then pour in the boiling brine to submerge them completely. If they're not completely covered, you can add water to bring the level of the brine up over the top. Refrigerate for at least an hour to give the brine a chance to work its magic. The longer you brine, the tastier they'll be. Quick pickles keep in the fridge for up to 10 days, and you'll be enjoying crunchy snacks all week long.

Quick pickled cucumbers

Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 2 minutes Chill: 1 hour Makes: 1 pint

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water, plus more, if needed

2 teaspoons each: kosher salt, pickling spice

1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 Combine cider vinegar with 1/2-cup of water, salt and pickling spice in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil.

2 Place cucumber in a clean, dry glass container just large enough to hold all the slices. Pour boiling brine over cucumber slices to cover completely. If all cucumbers are not submerged, add cold water to cover. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for about 10 days.

Nutrition information: Per 2 slices: 3 calories, 0% of calories from fat, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 80 mg sodium, 0 g fiberw

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