Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Quickly pickled

With the weather warming up, we're enjoying fresh, cool foods more often. We're even growing our own lettuces for the first time, a mesclun mixture, which has been really interesting. They're not quite mature yet but we've been eating a little here and there and it's delicious. Summer is hot here, so eating is all about keeping cool - lots of salads, sandwiches, fresh fruits and veggies all day long. I really love summer eating.

With summer eating in mind, I've been trying some quick-pickled vegetable recipes lately. I've made quick cucumber pickles for years, throwing in onions, garlic, herbs or whatever else I have handy. I hadn't tried any other veggies yet, though, and decided to try pickling carrots recently when I had an enormous bag of them I needed to use up. Quick pickles are easy to make; there is little to no cooking involved, no fermenting and no canning. They don't last long, but they're crisp, cool and highly flavored, and very nice to have on hand for a quick accompaniment to any meal.

The pickled carrots were absolutely wonderful and I felt inspired to make up some sweet-and-sour cucumber pickles too, using a recipe from Sunset. The carrot recipe comes from there too; both are included in a series of quick-pickle recipes I tore out of the magazine and saved years ago, planning to try them eventually. I don't know what I was waiting for! The two I tried are delicious and I will definitely try the others. The recipes are presented in a sort of "mix-and-match" format, encouraging you to try different combinations of ingredients to develop your own "house" pickles. I did a bit of improvisation with mine and I think they worked well. It's hard to go wrong with fresh veggies, vinegar and spices. Both kinds of pickles floated my boat just fine, and there's no stopping me now - I'm already thinking about more pickles, like green beans, jicama and peppers.

Both recipes adapted from "Pickle It Quick," in the July 2011 issue of Sunset, to fit a quart-size Mason jar.

Sweet and sour cucumber and red onion pickles
2 large cucumbers
1/4 medium red onion
5 stalks fresh dill
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
3/4 cup white wine vinegar

Slice cucumbers and onion very thinly on a mandoline or with a knife; rinse onion and drain. Put both into clean jar, layering with dill stalks.

Whisk sugar, salt, mustard seeds and vinegar together in a bowl. Pour over cucumber mixture and chill at least 1 hour. Serve cold. Keeps, chilled, up to 1 day.

Mustard and ginger pickled carrots
5 to 6 medium carrots
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 thin slices fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/8 tsp. red chile flakes

Peel carrots and cut into 1/2 inch sticks.

Bring 1 1/2 cups water and all ingredients except carrots to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 minute. Add carrots and simmer until almost tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer carrots and liquid to jar and let cool to room temperature. Chill, covered, overnight to let flavors develop. Serve cold. Keeps, chilled, up to 1 week.


  1. I love the sound of the carrot pickles. Carrot and ginger go so well together I bet it is delicious.

  2. I have never tried pickled carrots before, its certainly on the list to try. Thank you for sharing.

  3. The look delicious, really crisp and fresh. I had to google jicama, it's new to me, I'll look forward to seeing that if you do it. CJ xx

  4. I have never heard of pickled carrots but they sound good and look so pretty!

  5. I love pickled veggies! These recipes sound delicious and easy to make, too. Pickled dilled green beans are amazing - you will love them. Did you know you can use other kinds of vinegar, too instead of white vinegar? You can try apple cider vinegar, for example. Just in case you want to shake things up a bit! ;-)

    1. Thanks, Melanie. Yes, I love different kinds of vinegars. In fact, I used white wine vinegar in the cucumber pickles. :)

  6. How industrious of you! And how pretty they are in the jar! What a nice crunchy tasty thing to make! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  7. I love pickles and these simple recipes sound perfect.

  8. You've reminded me of a delicious beetroot and fennel seed relish I made last summer. It took no time to make and lasted in the fridge for a couple of weeks, actually improving with time. I'm going to do more pickling this year as I'm so over making vats of chutney.

  9. This is a great idea, Jennifer. The jars of picked veg look pretty too. I'll have to give it a go.

  10. I had to Google Jicama as well! It's not a vegetable I've come across in the UK. The pickled carrots sound lovely; I might have to make some.

  11. These sound delicious Jennifer I love pickled cucumbers I must give them a try. :) xx

  12. Yum! Those look fantastic. I'll definitely be trying the cucumber one when we have our usual glut later in the summer. Thanks for the recipe. xx

  13. Well, this is timely. I brought home some very long skinny cucumber from Jordan. I forget the name of it. But it's specifically used for the pickles they make here that are served with homous or shawerma, etc. I've chopped them up but haven't done anything with them yet. Apparently all I need to do is boil some water with salt add a touch of vinegar and then let them sit for a week. But I was going to try and get a little bit more specific with ingredients. I've wanted to try pickling for years, too, and like you said, what's holding us back? I'm definitely gonna give it a go. :)

  14. Looks lovely and so yummy.

  15. I made dill pickles years ago, but none since. I like the carrot recipe and may give it a try,

  16. YUM! Thank you! Thinking of picnics. Bliss.

  17. Isn't it funny, we can have a recipe around for years and all of a sudden it catches our eye again. These pickles look absolutley delicious! X

  18. Trey look beautiful and delicious.

  19. Never heard of pickled carrots before, i must give them ago .....xx

  20. Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster Award.

  21. While I have made quick pickles before, I have not followed a recipe...just my own concoctions :) Thanks for sharing the recipes, and showing us some of the pretty results of your efforts,Jennifer. xx

  22. These look amazing in their jars and I bet they taste fantastic too. I enjoy these kinds of fresh, tangy, sour flavours and I can just imagine how good they taste. Something to try when the kitchen is finished! x


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