By Pearl McLeod, Outreach and Development Associate
Lately I’ve been spending much more time contemplating the state of my fridge and pantry than I ever did before the coronavirus pandemic. Never before have I paid so much attention to what produce is about to go bad, which is often followed by a desperate attempt to use all my vegetables before anything goes to waste.
Then it dawned on me, why wasn’t I preserving all this amazing produce instead?
There are many ways to preserve different foods, but let’s focus on the art of pickling as well as its lesser known cousin, quick pickling, which is also known as quickling.
In a nutshell, pickling takes fresh produce, combines it with some salt, vinegar, and whatever spices you want in a jar to create a delicious, tangy product with a long shelf life.
The process of pickling includes essential steps that ensure there are no organisms in the jar that would spoil the pickles. When correctly processed, pickles should last on the shelf safely for up to 18 months.
Pickles can be processed two ways. You can use the boiling water method, in which you submerge your jars for at least 10 minutes in boiling water. If you’ve got a pressure canner, you can use the pressure canning method by following the directions provided by the manufacturer of your pressure canner.
Pickles should last up to 18 months unopened, but once you open a jar of pickles, treat it as you would any other refrigerated food in a jar that’s no longer sealed.
To learn all about pickling and recipes for different pickles, relishes, and chutneys, check out this guide from The Old Farmer’s Almanac here >>>
Do you need pickles now? Try making quickles!
Quick pickling does not require any specialized equipment for processing. Simply combine your vegetables with your brine of choice, let them sit or cool for an hour (or less depending on the recipe), and enjoy.
Quickles must be kept in the refrigerator and should be consumed within two weeks. Quickling is the perfect way to add some homemade crunch and tang to your meals while making sure no veggies go to waste.
There are countless pickle recipes out there, and most are pretty easy to experiment with and adapt according to the ingredients you have on hand.
If you need some inspiration to begin your pickling journey, here is a simple recipe for awesome quick pickled onions to add to your next sandwich:
RECIPE: Quick Pickled Red Onions
Note: I usually use red onions with this quickle recipe, but this time I substituted shallots instead without any problems.
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt with 1 cup water in a bowl. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
2. Place sliced red onion in a jar then pour vinegar mixture over your onion.
3. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
4. These quickles will last for 2–3 weeks in the refrigerator.