Monday, July 16, 2012

Refrigerator Pickles

**Update: These turned out so delectable! I brought them to a getaway with friends and they were a big hit! I made another 2 quart jars and a pint tonight to add to my quickly diminishing supply!**

I love pickled vegetables, and since last summer, I've begun trying to pickle them at the peak of their season so I can enjoy these vegetables in a different way than just roasted, raw or sauteed. If you haven't tried pickled vegetables (other than pickles), I highly suggest you give them a try. I took the bounty from my farmer's market finds and pickled away this weekend using Ted Allen's pickling recipe from the Food Network. Easy peasy and super yummy.

Refrigerator Pickles

For the brine:
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups white vinegar
6 tsp kosher salt
Several sprigs of fresh dill
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp pink peppercorns (if you have them)

For the vegetables:
Whatever you have that can be pickled (pretty much anything)
6 Kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
6 young spring carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 handful large scallion pieces or green beans
A few pieces of cauliflower to tuck in wherever they'll fit
4 small hot red chiles or 2 jalapenos

**I used a large cucumber, cut into thicker round slices, 1 medium summer squash, cut into half moons, 6 spring carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and quite a bit of cauliflower. Experiment here - there are so many wonderful options. Green beans are one of my favorites - see my Szechuan Beans and Dilly Beans.**

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat.

2. In 2 clear 1-quart jars, place a few sprigs of dill. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Then pack the jars full of cucumber, carrots, scallions or green beans, cauliflower and chiles. You want them to be tightly stuffed.

3. Bring the brine back to a boil and pour over the veg to cover completely, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, better after a couple of days. And they'll keep for about 3 months.

**I had a little leftover veg and brine, so I made 2 quarts and 1 pint.

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