Too many veggies right now — pickle them

It’s an easy way to use up the harvest while creating a tasty side dish for summer meals

    It’s that time of year when vegetables sometimes threaten to overwhelm a garden.
    What to do with them? Pickle them, of course.
    Although traditional, pickles aren’t just made from cucumbers. You can pickle just about any vegetable, including peppers, green beans, carrots and Brussels sprouts, as well as fruits like grapes and watermelon rinds and other produce.
    They make a tasty addition to the table, serving as a side dish or appetizer, adding a bit of acidity to a meal that might otherwise be too rich.
    There are a few things to remember when picking veggies to pickle.
    If using cucumbers, remember that for the crunchiest pickles you should select firm, dark-green pickling cucumbers that have not started to ripen to white or yellow.
    Always choose fresh, firm, unblemished vegetables to ensure a quality product.
    But your pickling decision doesn’t end with the type of produce to pickle.
    The basic process is simple — create a brine with vinegar, salt and sometimes sugar, warm it and pour the mixture over freshly cut cucumbers that are nestled in a jar with garlic, dill and peppercorns. Stick them in the refrigerator and voila  — pickles.
    Do you want your pickles to be dill or sweet, hot and spicy or garlicky? Add spicy red peppers or substitute other herbs for the dill if you want a new taste. The choice is yours.
    No matter what, be sure to use vinegar with a 5% acetic acid content or more for safe, long-term preservation and pickling salt, not table salt. Follow the instructions and don’t alter recipes or you could affect the taste of the pickle or increase the risk of spoilage.
    Process the pickled veggies properly in a boiling water canner to eliminate any bacteria and prevent harmful yeasts or molds. If you don’t process your pickles, refrigerate them and eat them within a few weeks.
    And for best results, let your pickles sit for a week or two before eating. It may be difficult to resist, but the waiting period enhances the flavor.
    Following are recipes from tasteofhome.com.

tasteofhome.com

Pickled Brussels Sprouts

3 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2-1/2 cups water
2-1/2 cups white vinegar
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons canning salt
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

    Fill a Dutch oven three-fourths full with water and bring it to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts in batches and cook four minutes, uncovered, until crisp-tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately drop into ice water. Drain and pat dry.
    Pack Brussels sprouts into six hot one-pint jars. Divide garlic and pepper flakes among jars.
    In a large saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil. Carefully ladle hot liquid over Brussels sprouts, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Red Seedless Grapes

5 cups seedless red grapes
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks, halved
4 whole star anise
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup dry red wine
1-1/2 teaspoons canning salt

    Pack grapes into four hot one-pint jars to within 1-1/2 inches of the top. Divide jalapenos, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds and mustard seed among jars.
    In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, vinegar, water, wine and canning salt. Bring to a boil and cook 15 to 18 minutes, until liquid is reduced to three cups.
    Carefully ladle hot liquid over grape mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot liquid. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

Watermelon Rind Pickles

8 cups sliced peeled watermelon rind, 2-by-1-inch pieces
6 cups water
1 cup canning salt
4 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
6 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

    Place rind in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir in water and salt. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Rinse and drain well.
    In a Dutch oven, mix sugar, vinegar, two cinnamon sticks, cloves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Add rinds and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, uncovered, until tender. Discard cinnamon sticks.
    Carefully ladle hot mixture into four hot one-pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add one of the remaining cinnamon sticks to each jar. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
    To prepare watermelon rind, remove dark green peel from watermelon rind and discard.

 

Tangy Pickled Mushrooms

5 pounds small, fresh mushrooms
2 large onions, halved and sliced
2 cups white vinegar
1-1/2 cups canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canning salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

    Place all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, uncovered. Carefully ladle hot mixture into eight hot one-pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
    Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight. Place jars into canner, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

So Sweet Squash Pickles

3 small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon mustard seed
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

    Place squash, pepper and onion in a colander over a plate. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand one hour to drain.
    In a large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add vegetables and return to a boil. Remove from heat and cool completely.
    Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate, covered, at least four days before serving.
    Pickles may be stored in refrigerator as long as three weeks.

 

Spiced Pickled Beets

3 pounds small fresh beets
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups cider vinegar
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice

    Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 inch. Place in a Dutch oven, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 to 35 minutes, until tender. Remove beets from water and cool. Peel beets and cut into fourths.
    Place beets in a Dutch oven. Add sugar, water and vinegar. Place spices on a double thickness of cheesecloth, bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add to beet mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Discard spice bag.
    Carefully pack beets into four hot one-pint jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Carefully ladle hot liquid over beets, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 35 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

Pickled Green Beans

1-3/4 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 teaspoons dill seed or 4 fresh dill heads
2-1/2 cups water
2-1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup canning salt

    Pack beans into four hot one-pint jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Add cayenne, garlic and dill seed to jars.
    In a large saucepan, bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil.
    Carefully ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars, then screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

Pickled Sweet Peppers

5 large sweet red peppers
8 banana peppers
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 teaspoons canola oil
2-1/2 cups water
2-1/2 cups white vinegar
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons canning salt

    Cut red and banana peppers into strips, discarding seeds. Pack peppers into five hot one-pint jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Divide the onion, garlic and oil among jars.
    In a large saucepan, bring water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Carefully ladle hot liquid over pepper mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot liquid. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

Pickled Rainbow Chard

2 bunches rainbow Swiss chard
1 small onion, halved and sliced
2 teaspoons mixed pickling spices
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water

    Trim leaves from Swiss chard and reserve for another use. Cut stems into two-inch pieces, then place in a large heatproof nonreactive bowl. Add onion, pickling spices, celery seed and mustard seed.
    In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar and water. Bring to a boil. Cook one minute, stirring to dissolve sugar, then pour over chard mixture. Cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, overnight, stirring occasionally.

 

Pickled Bell Peppers

2 each medium green, sweet red and yellow peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons mixed pickling spices
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water

    In a large glass bowl, combine peppers and onion. Place pickling spices and celery seed on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings and tie securely with string.
    In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, water and spice bag. Bring to a boil;, then boil one minute. Transfer spice bag to pepper mixture. Pour vinegar mixture over top. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
    Discard spice bag. Refrigerate pickled peppers as long as one month.

 

Sweet and Tangy Freezer Pickles

2 pounds pickling cucumbers, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 large green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 teaspoons celery seed

    In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, toss vegetables with two tablespoons salt. Cover with crushed ice and mix well. Refrigerate eight hours, covered. Drain, rinse, and drain again. Return to bowl.
    In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed and remaining salt. Bring to a boil, then cook, stirring, one minute. Pour over cucumber mixture and stir to combine.
    Transfer to freezer containers or canning jars, leaving one-inch headspace. Cool completely. Freeze, covered, for as long as six weeks.
    Thaw in refrigerator before serving. Store thawed pickles in the refrigerator for as long as two weeks.

 

Refrigerator Garden Pickles

6 cups sugar
6 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup celery seed
1/4 cup mustard seed
2 tablespoons canning salt
10 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium cucumbers, sliced
3 medium sweet red peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, halved and sliced
1 bunch green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

    In a Dutch oven, combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, mustard seed and canning salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.         Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour hot liquid over vegetables and cool. Transfer to jars, if desired, covering them tightly.
    Refrigerate for six to eight hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator for as long as one month.

 

Grandma’s Dill Pickles

11 cups water
5 cups white vinegar
1 cup canning salt
12 pounds pickling cucumbers, quartered or halved lengthwise
9 dill sprigs or heads
18 garlic cloves
18 dried hot chilies

    In a stockpot, bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Boil 10 minutes. Pack cucumbers into nine hot quart jars within 1/2 inch of top. Place one dill head, two garlic cloves and two peppers in each jar.
    Carefully ladle hot mixture into jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
    Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

 

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