Pickles: Make Summer Last a Little Longer

I've always been a fan of pickles, but I recently had a baby, so for the last year, my love of pickles has been in overdrive. I've been gobbling up anything salty, sweet, and crunchy I can get a hold of, and my current favorite pickle varieties are classic cucumbers with dill, spicy cucumbers, sweet carrots, tangy red onions, and zesty daikon.

As the summer harvest winds down and summertime favorites like cucumbers, asparagus, green beans, okra, and radishes slowly begin to disappear from the stalls at our local farmer’s market, I’ve found myself tossing around the idea of preserving this season’s produce by pickling and canning it to enjoy all winter long. This week is National Farmer's Market Week, and what better way to celebrate than by going on a shopping spree at my neighborhood farmer's market?

Full disclosure: the last time I pickled anything was 2011. One of my friends was nine months pregnant and craving pickles, and I whipped up a batch of quick dill pickles for her and a batch of pickled radishes for myself. Once they were bright pink and ready to eat, I sliced them up and put them on tacos, added them to pad thai, and ate them straight from the fridge.

If you’re looking for a quick, basic, go-to recipe and you’re a total pickling newbie, look no further than The Kitchn’s recipe for “Easiest Refrigerator Pickles.” They’re quick, easy, ready to eat within days, and best of all - require no special canning equipment! Quick pickles don’t keep as long as traditional pickles, but when have we ever had a problem finishing off a jar of pickles?

Once you've got the basic recipe down, we recommend using the same basic ratios to try pickling other vegetables and adding new flavors. Not sure where to start? We've listed a few varieties we love below:

Cucumber + dill + peppercorns + chili flakes
Asparagus + mustard seeds + garlic + white wine vinegar
Red onions + apple cider vinegar
Carrots + apple cider vinegar
Beets + white wine vinegar 
Green Beans + Brine (Go crazy, add garlic!)

If you have jars and a few hours, you can also use a large cooking pot and water bath a few batches of pickles so they last into the winter months. The expert for the facts on canning? Ball Canning of course Start there, and then then go check out the many bloggers that put their own twist on canning, and ways to use up your csa of root veggies. 

How do you spice up your canning? Tag your canning photos with #GreenheartShop