Hang on to Summer
The market stalls are bursting with produce. It seems as though everywhere I turn there is an abundance of riotously colored fruits and vegetables. The possibilities seem endless-so much food, so little time. I am happy this time of year in the . I feel blessed to live in the Midwest and to be near so many farmers and shoppers who share enthusiasm for high quality, local produce.
But, like all good things, this too will end. The season won’t taper off slowly and gracefully. One day, and not too far from this moment, it will just end. The vines will simply not produce any more. The weather will turn cold and the party will be over. I like to hang on to remnants of summer and look to preserving some of the bounty. It is at this time of year I start canning and pickling.
Refrigerator pickles are quick and simple. No need to purchase any equipment or worry about vacuum seals. While refrigerator pickles do not have the shelf life that canned pickles have, they do tend to have bright flavors and are a foot in the door to pickling. I like to pickle beets, carrots, beans, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower…….you name it- I’ve pickled it!
These pickled veggies can be the star or co-star of your late summer meals. I add them to salads, garnish steaks with them and eat them plattered with great breads and cheeses. Hold on to summer for just a few more weeks by pickling the color and flavor of summer’s bounty.
Basic Pickling Liquid
2 cups Apple Cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
½ teaspoon (or more) dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seed
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
Several slices of peeled ginger
- Bring the above mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Cool completely.
- Prep the vegetables that you are pickling by blanching and shocking them until they are tender or by roasting them in the case of beets until they are tender. Peel and cut to size. Arrange the vegetables in clean jars. Pour the pickling mixture over the vegetables to completely cover and seal with tight fitting lids. Refrigerate the pickled vegetables for one week before serving.
The refrigerator pickles can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.