Refrigerator Pickles

Posted on by MK Carroll

Use it up: Refrigerator Pickles
At the end of the week, you might have a bit of this and a bit of that - in my case, I had half a carrot, two radishes (starting to go soft), a quarter of an onion, and the inner part of a fennel bulb. With a simple vinegar brine, I turned these remnants into a jar of pickled vegetables, which were then added to salads and sandwiches over the course of the following week. Refrigerator pickles are an easy way to extend the life of fresh produce for several more days, but is not intended for long-term storage. You don't need any special equipment or canning supplies - just cut up the items you want to pickle, boil the brine, pour it over, and let the jar sit for 24 hours. Easy! 

Taking what's rattling around in the crisper drawer and making pickles

Taking what's rattling around in the crisper drawer and making pickles

1 quart glass jar (canning jar is good, can recycle a glass jar)

For each quart:
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar (apple cider, red wine, or rice vinegar)
1 Tbs. sea salt
2 garlic cloves (optional)

(about 1/2 tsp. of one or any combination desired)

coriander seed
red chili flakes
mustard seeds
black pepper 
dill seeds
turmeric (dried, or minced fresh)
ginger (dried, or minced fresh)

General rule of thumb: anything you would eat raw, no leaves, remove any bruised spots 
celery (leaves too)
bell pepper
chili pepper
onion (if it's not a sweet onion, you may want to give it a baking soda soak to make it milder first: make a solution of 1 Tablespoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water. Put sliced or chopped onion into enough solution to cover it, and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Baking soda neutralizes the process that creates the harsh tasting sulphur compounds in onions without washing out all the flavor.)
Swiss chard stems (cut crosswise into 1" long pieces)
stems of leafy greens (tatsoi, mizuna, collards, etc)

*radishes and cruciferous vegetables, when pickled, develop a strong odor that some people find unpleasant. If you don't like takuan (Japanese daikon pickle), you probably won't like refrigerator pickled daikon or radish.

Prepare the produce: wash and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the jar, along with any garlic and spices being used. 
If you are mixing different items, try to choose ones that would go well together (like you can imagine using all of them in the same salad), as the flavors will blend a bit. 

Prepare the brine: heat the water, vinegar, and salt. You may want to do this in a covered pot or in the microwave, or at least have the windows open (the vinegar smell can get very strong). Bring to a boil.

Pour the brine into the jar until the contents are covered, and put on the jar lid. Let this cool to room temperature, then put in the refrigerator. Let it sit for at least 24 hours. 

This recipe was originally published in the August 9, 2014 issue of the Kokua Market email newsletter