While you were preparing for self-isolation for an indefinite period of time, you probably made some big grocery trips to stock up. But if you find yourself with more fresh produce than you and your family can eat, freezing isn’t the only option. For a little variety that will add a punch of briny flavor to staples like rice, quinoa, and couscous, try pickling some of that extra produce. Here are four great unexpected pickle recipes to get you started ... no cucumbers required:
1) Pickled green beans (Dilly beans) from The Daring Gourmet
Super crisp, a little salty and packed with flavor, pickled green beans might be one of the best healthy snacks to crunch on during family movie nights. This recipe from The Daring Gourmet uses fresh dill for that classic dill pickle flavor, so it’s a good choice for kids with picky palates but it’s elevated enough for adults. Pack your beans in a wide-mouth mason jar so they’re easy to pick at throughout the week.
Le Parfait Super Terrine 1L Wide Mouth Canning Jar available from Amazon.
Dill Pickled Green Beans (Dilly Beans)
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 5 mins.
Total Time: 20 mins.
Servings: 8 ounces dilly beans Calories: 25kcal
Author: Kimberly Killebrew, www.daringgourmet.com
8 oz. very fresh green beans, washed and stems trimmed but leave the other side intact
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
1 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. dill seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh dill
For the pickling brine:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. cane sugar paleo: use coconut sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 large clove garlic quartered
Make sure to select the freshest green beans you can find. Wash them and then trim the stem side of the beans, leaving the other side intact.
Add the spices to the bottom of a large jar. Pack the beans, cut stem side down, as tightly as you can into the jar. Press some sprigs of fresh dill down in between the beans.
To make the pickling brine: Add the brine ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Pour the boiling brine over the beans. Top off with more pickling brine if needed to ensure the beans are fully immersed under the brine. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles.
Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age. Wait at least four days before eating them. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to two months.
For canning: Dilly beans are best consumed within a couple of months, but if you want to store them even longer, you can also can them: Use canning jars, seal the jars and process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. The beans will still have some crisp to them but won’t be crunchy, like the non-canned version will be.
2) Pickled avocados from Constantly Cooking
Pickled avocados make a surprisingly tasty addition to burrito bowls, sandwiches and salads. They also solve the age-old problem of the never-ripe avocado. If you have a handful of avocados that seem like they’ve been rock solid for months, throw them in with some pickling vinegar to make them into a tasty treat before they suddenly spoil.
Mrs. Wages pickling and canning vinegar available from Amazon.
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1 large or two medium firm avocados, sliced
Put vinegar, water, salt, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, sugar, peppercorns and chili pepper flakes in a microwave-safe container.
Heat on high power for 1 – 2 minutes until mixture comes to a boil. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Let cool for 20 minutes until lukewarm (10 minutes if refrigerated).
Place avocado slices in a 250-mL canning jar (I like wide-mouth jars for this purpose). Pour the cooled pickling brine over top, making sure seasonings also go into the jar.
Let jar sit at room temperature for one hour, then refrigerate overnight before consuming.
Pickles can be stored in the fridge for up to one month.
Makes one 250-mL jar; recipe can easily be multiplied.
3) Pickled blueberries from By The Pounds
This unusual treat is perfect for preserving quickly perishable berries. While your first instincts might be to freeze blueberries for smoothies or turn them into a jam, pickled blueberries will change the way you look at this fruit forever. This simple recipe from By the Pounds suggests a few uses for the berries, including on a salad, as a cocktail garnish, or on a cheese tray. The combination of the sweet and briny flavors also pairs perfectly with goat cheese on crostini. Try these 8-ounce mason jars for easy storage.
Ball canning jars with airtight lids available from Amazon.
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 sprigs of mint
Add blueberries and mint to a jar or other lidded container.
Cook the brown sugar, salt, lemon juice, and vinegar in a small pot over medium heat.
Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the blueberries and mint. Let the mixture cool.
Remove the mint and put on the lid and store in the fridge.
The blueberries will last in the fridge up to a month.
4) Pickled carrots by Minimalist Baker
If you bought enough carrots to cook soup every night for the next few months, change things up by pickling a couple jars. This quick pickle recipe from Minimalist Baker is slightly sweet, slightly tangy, super crunchy, and sure to be a hit with kids and adults.
Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Servings: 8 (2-piece servings)
1 lb. carrots, tops removed, peeled if needed, sliced into sticks
2/3 cup distilled white or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water (for stronger flavor, sub vinegar)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. organic cane sugar (or stevia to taste)
Add carrots to a large mason jar or glass container. Set aside.
To a small saucepan, add distilled white vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir to fully dissolve salt and sugar. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt or sugar to taste.
Pour the brine over the carrots, ensuring they are fully submerged. If needed, add more vinegar or a little water to cover.
Seal well and shake to combine. Then refrigerate for at least one hour. The flavors will deepen and intensify the longer it marinates. Best flavor is achieved after 24 hours.
Will keep in the refrigerator for two-three weeks (sometimes longer). Not freezer friendly.