When you think "pickles," the classic cucumber variety probably springs to mind -- but there's so much more to everyone's favorite artisanal condiment than that! Our collection of small-batch recipes includes beets, zucchini, watermelon rinds and more. Store them in the refrigerator for use on sandwiches, over salads, and wherever else pickles your fancy.
Fast Homemade Pickles
Mustard seed, celery seed, and fresh dill pack a flavorful punch in this versatile brine. Use it for cucumbers, green beans, pearl onions, fennel, carrots, cauliflower, and more.
3 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 to 4 small red chiles (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups fresh dill fronds (about 1 bunch)
1. In a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, red chiles (optional), and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Arrange prepared vegetables and dill fronds in one or more jars. Pour hot brine into jar to completely cover vegetables and seal jar. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours (or up to 1 week).
Ginger, rosemary, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves infuse the lightly sweetened cider vinegar brine for these irresistible pickled beets. Rick Field, founder of Rick's Picks pickle company, shared this recipe with Martha.
4 1/2 pounds large red beets, greens removed and washed
1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced crosswise into 12 1/8-inch thick rounds
6 sprigs fresh rosemary (3 inches each)
1/2 pound Spanish onions, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup light-brown sugar
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add beets and cook until easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Drain beets and place under cool running water. When beets have cooled, remove skins and cut beets in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.
2. Place 6 clean 1-pint jars right side up on a rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot water, about 1-inch above the tops of jars. Boil jars over high heat for 10 minutes. Remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at a time, reserving hot water for processing filled jars. Place jars on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
3. In another large pot filled with water, bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer; add cleaned lids and lid rings. Simmer lids for 10 minutes; do not boil, as this may cause problems in sealing jars. Drain lids and set aside.
4. Fill each jar with 2 pieces of ginger and 1 sprig rosemary. In a large bowl, mix together onions and beets. Pack each jar with onion and beet mixture up to within 1/2 inch below the rim of the jar.
5. Place allspice, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth; tie cheesecloth with kitchen twine to enclose. Place in a large saucepan along with cider vinegar, 2 cups water, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let mixture simmer about 10 minutes.
6. Immediately pour hot vinegar mixture over the beet mixture in each jar. Put lids and rings on jars and tighten; do not over-tighten. Reheat water in the canner until it reaches at least 180 degrees, within 10 minutes of filling the jars. Place filled jars into the canner one at a time, using a jar lifter that is securely positioned below the neck of the jar. Keep jars upright at all times.
7. Add more boiling water, if needed, so that water covers jars by at least 1 inch. Increase heat to high and cover. Once water begins boiling, heat jars for 7 minutes. Turn off heat and gently transfer jars to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, taking care not to tilt jars and spacing each jar at least 1 inch apart. Avoid placing jars on a cold surface or near a cold draft.
8. Let jars sit undisturbed until fully cooled, 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until jar has cooled completely.
9. Once jars have cooled completely, test to make sure each jar is completely sealed. Press down on the middle of the lid with a finger. If lid springs up when finger is released, the jar is unsealed. Store sealed jars in a cool place for at least 2 and up to 4 weeks to allow flavors to thoroughly combine. If any of the jars are unsealed, store in the refrigerator and used within several days.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Sweet pickled watermelon rind is a delicious way to use up the rinds from summer's juicy melons. These pickles will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Serve this classic Southern favorite as an accompaniment to cheese and crackers, or enjoy it alongside a sandwich or hamburger.
1 pound watermelon rind (from a 3-pound piece watermelon)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel outer skin and tough green layer from watermelon rind; cut rind into 2-by- 1/2-inch strips.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine 5 cups water with 3 tablespoons salt; bring to a boil. Add rind. Cook at a rapid simmer over medium-high until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a heatproof bowl (reserve saucepan).
3. In reserved saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, remaining teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt; pour hot liquid into bowl with rind. Use a small plate to submerge rind into liquid. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate in liquid at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.
Related: Easy, Everyday Meatless Recipes
Pickled Cucumbers and Jalapenos
Lovers of spicy foods will enjoy these sweet and zesty pickles, made with Kirby cucumbers, red jalapeno chiles, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and spices. No canning equipment is required for these easy refrigerator pickles.
2 pounds Kirby cucumbers, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
4 red jalapenos, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
3 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons coarse salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1. In a bowl, toss cucumbers, jalapenos, onions, and salt. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric, stirring to dissolve sugar.
3. Rinse and drain cucumber mixture. Pour vinegar mixture over; let cool. Refrigerate, covered, up to 3 weeks.
Pickled Zucchini Ribbons
Bright-hued sweet vegetable pickles are a welcome change from typical sandwich toppers. Paper-thin zucchini ribbons are tender-crisp. Be sure to let the brine cool completely before pouring it over the thinly sliced vegetables. If submerged in hot liquid, the zucchini will quickly turn soggy and won't retain its shape or texture during pickling.
2 pounds medium zucchini
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 quart cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Halve onions lengthwise, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Transfer vegetables to a colander set in a bowl. Toss well with salt. Refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, bring vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3. Rinse zucchini and onions well, and drain. Pat dry between paper towels.
4. Transfer zucchini and onions to a large bowl; pour in brine. Transfer to airtight containers; refrigerate at least 1 week (pickles will keep 3 weeks more).
These tasty pickled okra pods are flavored with a generous hit of garlic, hot red peppers, fresh dill, and yellow mustard seeds. This pickled okra recipe includes easy-to-follow instructions for canning.
2 pounds tender okra
1 quart white vinegar
6 tablespoons salt
16 small cloves garlic
8 small fresh hot red peppers
1 bunch of fresh dill (about 24 sprigs)
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1. Rinse okra, and cut away any bruises or bad spots. Trim stem ends of okra, but do not remove caps entirely.
2. Wash eight 1-pint canning jars, lids, and screw bands with hot soapy water, and rinse well. Place a wire rack on the bottom of a large pot. Place jars upright on a wire rack in a large pot, fill pot with hot water until jars are submerged, and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, but leave jars in water. Sterilize lids and screw bands according to manufacturer's instructions.
3. Meanwhile, bring vinegar, 3 cups water, and salt to a boil in a large pot.
4. Using stainless-steel tongs, remove jars from water, and set on a layer of clean towels. Evenly divide garlic, peppers, dill sprigs, and mustard seeds among sterilized jars. Pack jars tightly with okra, alternating direction of caps. Leave 3/4 inch of space beneath the rim of the jar. Pour hot liquid over okra, covering okra by 1/4 inch, leaving 1/2 inch of space beneath the rim. Slide a clean plastic chopstick or wooden skewer along the inside of each jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe mouth of jar with a clean, damp cloth. Place hot lid on jar; screw on band firmly without forcing.
5. Place a wire rack in the bottom of a large pot, and fill pot with hot water. Using a jar lifter, place the jars on the rack. Add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water bath with jar lifter; let stand on clean dish towels for 24 hours. Check cool jars for the slight indentation in the lids that indicates a vacuum seal. Jars that do not seal properly or that leak during processing should be stored in the refrigerator and pickles consumed within a week. Allow sealed pickles to mellow in a cool, dry place for 6 to 8 weeks before serving. Store opened jars in the refrigerator.
Pickled Hot Cherry Peppers
These spicy pickles are made from fresh hot cherry peppers, which are flavored with bay leaves, garlic, and black peppercorns. For delicious antipasti, serve the pickled peppers over a pillow of burrata cheese or stuff them with cubes of Pecorino Romano.
2 pounds hot cherry peppers, washed well and dried
6 garlic cloves, halved
3 dried bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 cups white-wine vinegar (at least 5 percent acidity)
1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1. Trim cherry pepper stems. Divide peppers, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns among 2 quart-size and 1 pint-size sterilized glass jars.
2. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves. Pour hot pickling liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4-inch headspace at tops. Can in water bath for 15 minutes.
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