Quick pickles, aka refrigerator pickles, land on the easy end of the scale when it comes to preserving and canning food. Unlike a traditional canning process, quick pickling doesn't use water baths or fancy equipment -- just a spicy vinegar brine, fresh produce, and a sterilized glass jar or two -- and the jars are stored in the fridge instead of on the pantry shelf. Here are a few ideas for quick pickles made with summer's best produce to tickle your taste buds with their sweet/tart/tangy flavors for weeks to come.
This simple recipe is an excellent intro to quick pickling. Watch the video to see how easily the whole thing comes together.
If you think pickling is just for cucumbers, you need to taste the magic of pickled fruit. The process takes mere minutes, and the grapes are ready to eat after one day of soaking.
Buckwheat Queen says, "This is a game changer when it comes to the game 'how to keep salads interesting.' They give it flavor, crunch, and if you add a little brine and oil, no need for fattening dressings." Tip: You can slice the carrots into rounds or into matchsticks.
At this point, I checked with a pickle-making expert to confirm that you can turn traditional pickled produce recipes into quick pickles simply by eliminating the hot water bath step. In fact that's what she often does. You might want to cut big-batch recipes in half, though, unless you want to fill your fridge (or your friends' fridges) with jars of quick pickled summer peaches, watermelon rinds, and so much more.
Try the following recipes, but leave out the hot water bath processing step. Just fill the jars and stash them in the fridge:
Serve these sweet and spicy peaches over ice cream, pound cake, or cheesecake. They're also sensational with grilled chicken or pork.
You know that watermelon rind you usually throw out? Yes, you can pickle that. (I have, and it's awesome!) Watermelon with a thick rind works best for this recipe because you cut off the outer green skin and all the red fruit before pickling the white rinds.
Personal shout-out for this eye-opening pickle. I'd never tried pickled fruit until my pickle-expert friend introduced me to these, and now they're a must-make when blueberry season hits. Take it from me, they're dangerously addictive as an appetizer with goat cheese and a sliced baguette, and they're amazing with grilled or roasted meats. Feel free to use this recipe for other summer fruit such as cherries, blackberries, and plums.
Tips for Quick Pickles
Because they're not water-bath processed and heat-sealed, quick refrigerator pickles need to be stored in the fridge and eaten within a week or two. Most recipes make a relatively small batch for this very reason. But watch out, quick pickling could turn out to be your gateway drug to full on canning.
- Choose fresh, unbruised produce.
- Use the best vinegar you can afford.
- Taste the brine before you combine it with the fruit; adjust sweetness or flavorings as necessary
- Sterilize jars by running them through the dishwasher or submerging them in boiling water.