The Pickling Process: Simple Steps to Master the Artisan Pickle
There are two kinds of people, those who hate pickles and those who love them. Rarely do you encounter a person without a strong opinion about pickles. I happen to be one of the latter. Growing up, I had such a strong love of pickles that I would often find a jar wrapped up under my family Christmas tree (always in the okra variety) for me. But, something happened in the last twenty years from my days of unwrapping okra pickles: suddenly pickling became hip. It’s now akin to indie music and independent coffee shops, and a far cry from my Grandmother’s pickled beets stuffed in the back of the fridge.
In spite of all my years of pickle loving, and the fact that pickling seems to be the new hip thing to do, I have yet to pickle …until now. So, here are some quick steps to help the first time pickler:
Step 1: Decide On Vegetables
Step 2: To Blanche Or Not To Blanche
Some vegetables will come out better if you blanche them first. Tomatoes and cucumbers are so high in water content that you can skip the blanching process, whereas carrots, beets, and okra should be blanched. If you do decide to blanche your vegetables, make sure the vegetables are cool before proceeding to the next step.
Boil your jar to ensure sterilization. Place vegetables into the jar, making sure that you leave at least ½ inch space at the top.
Step 4: Add Flavors
Get creative. Use dill, oregano, cumin or any dry seasoning you have on hand. I recommend about a ½ teaspoon of each dry seasoning per jar. For fresh herbs, I suggest using two sprigs. In my case, I used ½ teaspoon of dill.
Step 5: Make Brine
Use a 2 to 1 ratio of water and vinegar (both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar will work). In my case, I used 2 cups of water, 1 cup of apple vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. For a sweeter pickle, add more sugar. Bring all ingredients to a boil, until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Step 6: Add Brine To Jars And Refrigerate
Step 7: The Hardest Part
Open the jar and enjoy!!!!