Pickling is a great way to extend the season and use up extra produce.
If heat or pressure canning is a bit intimidating to you, consider refrigerator pickles instead. You can preserve just about any fruit or vegetable in a salt and vinegar brine, then add flavor with herbs and spices.
Note: These recipes are high in salt, but they pack plenty of flavor! If you want to remove some of the salt, rinse your pickles before eating them.
With these four recipes, we went beyond basic cucumbers!
To start, I used a basic pickling mix, which you could use for a variety of vegetables.
Basic Pickling Mix
8 ounces white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, washed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
I varied the recipe slightly to create four sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy pickles!
Chef Meg's Pickled Beets
Think you don't like beets? You'll love these tangy pickled ones!
Beets have a deep sweetness with musky earthiness. Pickling them infuses them with the tang of an acid, heat of a pepper and freshness of an herb. Use these pickled beets on salads along with mascarpone or ricotta cheese or as a garnish on cooked carrots or fennel.
They're also great on their own as a salty, crunchy snack.
Chef Meg's Pickled Green Beans with Dill
Beans are like zucchini and asparagus, when they are in season that's about all you eat but when they are gone they are gone. Extend the season for beans. Pickle them! Serve these tasty beans as an appetizer or side dish to savory meats.
Chef Meg's Pickled Vegetables
Pickling is a great way to extend the season. The basic pickling mix can be used for just about any vegetable.
If you don't have cumin seed on hand but do have ground cumin feel free to substitute. The only difference is that your pickling liquid will have a yellow tinge in color.
Tip: When the pickling mixture really gets going hold your nose when over the saucepan!
Chef Meg's Spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind
Did you know that watermelon rind was edible? It is--we use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer first, then we pickle it!
Tip: Let your watermelon come to room temperature before you peel the skin off the rind. We're removing the green skin, leaving only the white rind underneath.
1. Cut off the bottom and top of the watermelon to create a flat surface to work with.
2. Use a large "Y" peeler to remove the skin. (If you don't have one use a shorter 8 inch knife. Take your time and be careful!)
3. Once the green outer skin is removed, remove the rind trying not to take any of the watermelon flesh.
4. Slice the removed rind into 1/3 inch strips or cubes.
Try serving it over grilled pork and shrimp or as an appetizer with creamy goat cheese.
What is the most unusual food you've ever pickled? What is your favorite kind of pickle?
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