Pickled dilly beans offer a tart crunch to a brunch-time bloody Mary. Photo by Julianne Puckett.
I’m a pickle junkie. My pickling cucumbers are just starting to show up in my garden, but I’ve discovered that one mustn’t wait for cucumbers: you can go ahead and get started with whatever is in your garden right now.
You can pickle all sorts of vegetables. Radishes, beets, beans, turnips, carrots — you name it, I’ve probably pickled it. So I thought I would share some of my favorite pickling recipes and techniques with Vermont Life readers.
Pickles, pickles, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- Canned pickles. Traditional waterbath canning: the grandpappy of pickling methods, the one that allows you to have pickles all year long, whenever you want them (as long as you haven’t eaten them all). I’ve been making this one recipe for several years now and it hasn’t let me down yet.
- Refrigerator pickles. This is my go-to pickle because it takes so little time and yields such awesomely pickle-y results. As long as I have cucumbers in the garden, I usually have a few jars of these pickles in the fridge. They are pretty vinegary (which I like) and the taste is more reminiscent of a deli half-sour pickle than a traditional dill.
- Lactofermented pickles. Last summer, I tried my hand at lactofermentation, the old, natural process by which veggies are fermented using salty brine. Despite the hard time I got from my blog readers about using the words “putrefication” and “scum” in my how-to descriptions (I was being accurate, mind you), I thought the pickles were fantastic and surprisingly easy to make — not to mention that they lasted an extremely long time in the fridge. They tasted like a true barrel-style deli pickle.
Other Pickled Veggies
Here’s where you can get quite creative and will likely end up with some of your favorite pickles — think outside the cucumber box.
- Dilly beans. Pickle-y but with better crunch, and hey, they count as a serving of vegetables. And if you put them in a bloody Mary, that’s about eight servings of vegetables, right?
- Root vegetable kimchi. This is a quick and very pretty fermentation process, courtesy of Chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Zucchini pickles: Another great use for zucchini and ready in 24 hours. Slightly sweet and definitely spicy.
- Pickeled radishes. I have used this same brine recipe with beets, turnips and parsnips, too — delicious and versatile!
Phew! I think that should keep you fully pickled for the entire year. What are your favorite veggies to pickle? And what pickling method do you prefer?