How To Quick Pickle Anything and Everything for an Effortlessly Healthy Snack

Photo: Getty Images/YinYang
When it comes to healthy cooking, quick pickling is an easy (and often colorful) way to dress up your meal. You can quick pickle fruits, vegetables, or produce scraps (buh-bye food waste!) just by storing them in a vinegar-based pickling brine. In just 24 hours or less, your tangy snack is ready to serve.

This rapid turnaround and easy process is what differentiates refrigerator quick pickling from fermented pickles, which require a complex canning process and typically produce a stronger taste, explains Alana Kessler, RDN, of Be Well by Alana Kessler.

While quick pickles do have some of the blood sugar and healthy gut benefits of regular pickles, they don't undergo the full  fermentation process to form lactic acid, and so they have fewer of the probiotics.

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According to Kessler, what makes quick pickles so unique is their supreme versatility due to a lighter, less aggressive flavor. This makes them great to add to burgers, sandwiches, ramen, tacos, avocado toast, nachos, grain bowls, and salads without the fear that their flavor will overpower the rest of the dish.

How to quick pickle anything and everything

1. Make the brine

To make your pickling brine, combine equal parts water and vinegar in a saucepan with a pinch of sugar and salt to cut the acid. While white vinegar is most commonly used, rice vinegar, apple cider, champagne vinegar, and even sweeter options like balsamic vinegar all work as well and will result in different flavor profiles. Allow the brine to heat up, and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.

2. Add spices and herbs

While you don't have to include any extras to your mixture, if you want to add a kick or different flavor to your pickles, fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, dill, and oregano or whole spices like peppercorns, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, and star anise are great additions that will do so.

3. Prepare your produce

While your brine is on the stove, slice whatever produce you are planning to pickle. For vegetables like carrots, radishes, and squash, or scraps like watermelon rinds, it's important to mandolin or cut the pieces up very thin to allow for maximum absorbance.

Some unique pickling options include cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, and garlic. You can even quick pickle certain fruits, such as berries, melons, cherries, and peaches, all which take on an even more acidic flavor.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re planning to pickle any green vegetables, you should blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes before you add them to the jar to help preserve the color.

4. Fill your jars

Once your produce is prepared, add it to a jar. Mason or ball jars are great because they have an airtight seal and a wide mouth which makes it easier to add in all of the ingredients. Be careful to only add one kind of pickle to each jar, and make sure that the fruit or veg isn't filled to the top and there is an inch of headroom at the top of the jar. Pour in the brine, herbs, and spices and seal the jar.

5. Wait

After adding the hot brine, let the sealed jars cool for an hour or two before transferring them to the refrigerator. Let the pickles sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours before opening the jars. Enjoy!

Everything you need to quick pickle

Our Place Everyday Chef’s Knife — $70.00

To ensure maximum absorption, it’s important to slice your vegetables and fruits as thin as you can. The best way to do that is by using a sharp knife. This versatile, do-it-all knife features a durable, full-tang blade made from German steel and a grooved handle that guides your hand into the perfect pinch grip for quick and safe slicing.

Swissmar Borner V-Slicer Plus Mandoline — $50.00

With over 2,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, this mandolin is a great solution for bulk pickling, if you don’t want to have to individually slice each of your ingredients. It is sturdy, sharp, and perfect for speeding up the preparation process.

Larkspur Bib Apron — $95.00

Keep your clothes out of the splash zone with this chef-grade denim apron. While chopping up your beets and berries, or toiling over the stove, this long apron is perfect for keeping yourself dry and protected.

Abbio Sauce Pan — $80.00

Heat up your brine in this two-quart, steel and aluminum combination sauce pan from Abbio. The chef-favorite pot provides consistent heat right up to the edge of the pan, and it comes with a high-temp silicone hot pad to keep your hands and counters safe.

Ball Regular Mouth Mason Jars — $15.00

Great for everything from storing cotton balls to creating wedding decor, these versatile mason jars are also a fan-favorite when it comes to pickling because of their secure lid and wide mouth.

Spicewalla 18 Pack Kitchen Essentials Collection — $99.00

This 18-tin spice starter pack is aesthetically pleasing, but also contains so many options for ways to flavor your pickles. Whether you’re looking to experiment with different mixtures or rely on your old reliables, these spices look great in your kitchen, and are refillable when you run out.

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