Quick Pickles

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This past Sunday I helped organize Durham’s second annual PickleFest, a celebration of all things pickled, brined, and cured held at The Rickhouse. We had pickle samples from folks like The Bamboo Ladies, Green River Picklers, Mt. Olive, and more. There was food a variety of local restaurants including Juju, Alley Twenty Six, and Bona Fide Sandwich Company. The Bloody Mary bar was rocking all day long, and even I got in on the action by giving a demonstration on how to make quick pickles.

Bartender Rob and Chef Carrie of Durham's Alley Twenty Six serving up drinks and snacks at PickleFest 2016
Bartender Rob and Chef Carrie of Durham’s Alley Twenty Six serving up drinks and snacks at PickleFest 2016

I’ve been making pickles for years now, and it is truly one of my favorite ways to preserve the summer bounty. I do traditional cucumber dill, but also pickled squash, watermelon rind, okra, and blueberries (which are GREAT in chicken salad). But sometimes I want the vinegary goodness of a pickle without all the time spent canning them. That’s where my go-to quick pickle guide comes in. It’s basically this – slice some veggies (or fruits!), add vinegar, salt, and maybe some spices. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Asian-style quick pickles
Asian-style quick pickles

This recipe can be tweaked any number of ways. I’ve listed the Asian-style one that I most traditionally use, but if you follow the basic ratios you can pretty much do whatever you like. Try apple cider vinegar and cumin seed, red wine vinegar with red onions and feta, or white wine vinegar, dill, and mustard seed. The world is your….erm, pickle. Now go get brined!

Quick Pickles
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Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Treat this recipe more like a guide - switch up the vinegars, vegetables, spices, and more! Try some hunks of fresh strawberry in the spring, or thin ribbons of squash in the winter. The only thing to remember is to slice your vegetables thinly - the thicker they are, the longer they'll take to pickle. I use an easy-to-find, cheap handheld mandoline to get thin, even slices.
Ingredients
  • Two cucumbers, sliced
  • Two yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
  • ¼ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the cucumbers, squash, shredded onions, rice wine vinegar, salt, ginger, and sesame seeds. Mix well so that the vegetables are well coated with the vinegar and spices.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Stir occasionally, making sure to coat the vegetables with the liquid that accumulates.
  3. Before serving mix in the chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts, if using. Serve cold or at room temperature.

 

Finally, a huge thank you to my boyfriend Harper for assisting with Pickle Fest. He took tickets at the door, helped with the demo, and even donned the Pickle Suit in record heat! He’s a trooper!

Harper has found his new calling as a pickle mascot
Harper has found his new calling as a pickle mascot
Some of my favorite pickling and preserving resources.
Some of my favorite pickling and preserving resources.
Harper helping out with the demo.
Harper helping out with the demo.

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