Real 'by the book' old fashion pickling is laborious and time consuming, but IMO worth the effort. Gathering ingredients, Processing, Sterilizing jars, Hot water baths and safe storage are some of the many factors to be considered. There are however methods of quick pickling, which are just as satisfying. You shant be able to store 'Quick Pickles' for as long, but you wll be able to enjoy them sooner with less fuss and bother.
As appetizers and condiments they serve well. They add crunchy acidity and tart taste bud teasers to any meal. They can be tossed into a salad, compliment sushi or top your favorite dagwood sandwich.
The trick to pickling quick is the vinegar water ratio, and sugar salt ratio to a lesser extent. Vinegar creates the acidity in pickles. Salt creates the salty flavor and aids in preservation, too much or too little salt, or even the wrong type can ruin an entire batch. Sugar is sweet, in pickles a treat, once again don't overdo it.
Use fresh vegetables that are free of blemishes, insect damage and certainly not over ripe. Any vegetable can be pickled, cucumbers of course are the most popular. Radishes, onions, garlic, green tomatoes, carrots, zucchini all make awesome pickles. Some veggies work better when briefly blanched such as garlic or green beans. Blanch them for a New York minute before dunking them into ice water, which helps retain their crunciness and color.
Combine 1.5 cups of vinegar with 1 cup of water. Add a tablespoon or even a tad more of Kosher salt, pickling salt or sea salt, don't use iodized table salt. Try and keep sugar to a minimum, while it adds flavor to your batch, it also works against the preservation by feeding any unwanted micro organisms that survive the pickling process. Sugar is also purely optional.
Various vinegars can provide assorted flavors, I use mostly white vinegar because of it sharp flavor, which is my personal preference, and let the added spices perk up the flavor. Some people however use wine vinegars, apple cider vinegar and so forth.
Cut, dice and slice your veggies into suitable shapes and sizes if youre not pickling them whole, such as cherry tomatoes or small radishes. Place them in a large bowl. Boil your pickling liquid to make a brine for 2 to 3 minutes , and then pour it over the vegetables making certain they are completely submerged. Cold storage in the fridge in either mason jars or suitable containers is next.
They can last a few months, but are best if devoured within a week or two. They must be kept Refrigerated.