Easy Quick Pickles
Quick pickles are the simplest pickles to make and can last about a month in the refrigerator without any complicated canning steps. All you need to do is make a simple brine of vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and some toasted mustard seeds and peppercorns, then pour it over the vegetables. You can use almost any vegetable, like cucumbers, baby carrots, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, or even okra, and after one day’s pickling time, they’re ready to go on your favorite sandwich or burger. Feel free to experiment with the brine by using different spices like coriander, dill seeds, or chile flakes.
What to buy: Don’t confuse packaged baby-cut carrots—which are mature carrots whittled into a smaller “baby” size—with fresh green-topped baby carrots. True baby carrots are tender, immature carrots with their skin intact.
Special equipment: You can use glass jars like these to make the pickles in. The wide mouth allows you to easily fit the vegetables inside, and the glass lets you see what you’re doing, as well as not absorbing any off odors from the pickles.
Game plan: If the baby carrots are smaller than 1/2 inch in diameter, you can leave them whole. Peeling them is optional, but make sure you give them a good scrub.
These pickles will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Watch the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Christine Gallary make these simple pickles in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
For each recipe of the brine, choose one vegetable in the amount below:
- 1 pound baby carrots (about 2 bunches), green stems trimmed to 1/2 inch, peeled, and halved lengthwise
- 1 pound medium Kirby cucumbers (about 4), quartered lengthwise
- 1 pound medium zucchini (about 4), quartered lengthwise, then halved crosswise
- 12 ounces cauliflower (about 1/2 medium head), cut into 1-inch florets
- 12 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed
- 12 ounces okra
For the brine:
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1Pack your vegetable of choice tightly in a 1-quart glass jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top. Set aside.
- 2Make the brine: Toast the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bring to a boil.
- 3Immediately pour the brine into the jar, making sure to cover the vegetables completely. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Seal the jar with a tightfitting lid and shake or rotate it to evenly distribute the brine and spices. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 day and preferably 1 week before using. The pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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