The importance of gut health has become a popular topic when considering an individual's health and wellness. This is because your digestive tract's health has a huge impact on your overall health and bodily functions. As a matter of fact, the types of foods we eat can impact the functioning of the gut microbiome. This is why learning how to make homemade pickles is actually a good thing.
A diet that includes regular intake of fermented foods—like pickles—can bolster the production of beneficial gut bacteria, which is crucial to food digestion. Instead of buying a jar of pickles from the grocery store, try these easy pickle recipes. To begin with, they are quick and easy to make. Additionally, I find that homemade pickles are tastier, healthier, and pack a punch of flavor. Here are three easy ways to pickle veggies that don't require fancy canning equipment.
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy to make. You don't need to have tons of cooking experience for this easy pickle recipe. It's pretty straightforward and doesn't require any special equipment.
- Lots of variety. You're not limited to the veggies I use in this recipe. When it comes to pickling, there's no limit. Is it a vegetable? Is it crunchy? Then you can pickle it!
- Endless flavor options. The secret to a flavorful pickle is in the spices you add to the brine. You can add fresh or dried herbs like dill, thyme, and rosemary. In fact, you can also use garlic cloves, fresh ginger, whole or ground spices.
- It's healthy. Homemade pickles are fat-free and low in calories. Eating pickles may help prevent blood sugar spikes, thanks to the vinegar content. Some athletes swear by pickle juice to restore their electrolytes following a workout. If you're concerned about the sodium content in this recipe, rinse the brine from the pickles before eating.
HOW DO YOU MAKE PICKLES FROM SCRATCH?
Making quick pickles is an easy process that is far less of a hassle because you're not actually canning them. Simply cut your veggies and soak them in pickling brine. An overnight soak works. However, the longer you let the veggies sit in the brine, the more flavorful they get. Once they're ready, the pickles will last at least a week in the fridge but get less crisp as time goes on.
Learning how to make homemade pickles means you can control the ingredients and avoid food dyes, sugar, too much salt, and artificial flavor enhancers.
- Tamari (a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce)
- Brown rice vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Ume vinegar
- Pickling spices
- Vegetables: Whatever vegetable you decide to use, choose fresh produce that is ripe and feels firm and is free from bruises and blemishes. Avoid limp or wrinkly vegetables. I use broccoli stems, carrots, celery, fennel bulbs, beets, and radishes for my three recipes.
- Vinegar: Pretty much any basic vinegar is fair game when it comes to pickling. However, whatever you choose will come through in your finished pickles, so select the flavor wisely. Common options are distilled white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar. In this recipe, I use brown rice vinegar and umeboshi vinegar. Choose raw, unpasteurized options as they retain parts of the "mother culture," which provides that good gut bacteria.
- Water: I like to use boiled, cooled water. If possible, don't use hard water because the mineral content will make the pickling solution cloudy and discolor the pickles.
- Salt: Use sea salt, kosher salt, or pickling salt. These have no additives. Using iodized table salt may make the brine cloudy and change the color and texture of the vegetables. Additionally, it may leave sediment at the bottom of the jars.
- Pickling spice: This is a blend of aromatic spices added to the brine to enhance the finished flavor of the pickles. It can include cloves, juniper berries, dill seeds, mustard seeds, coriander, and bay leaves.
STEP 1: WASH THE JARS
Clean vessels are critical. Wash your jars and lids with warm, soapy water and rinse well.
You can even put them in boiling water briefly to sterilize them. Also, take into account the size of your jar (I think pint-sized mason jars with a wide mouth work best). Everything needs to fit snugly inside your vessel.
STEP 2: PREP THE VEGGIES
There's no rule against picking produce whole, but your vegetables will absorb the brine faster if they are cut into pieces. Wash and dry the vegetables.
Trim away any stems, ends, and brown spots. Peel, if necessary. Use a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer to cut the vegetables into smaller pieces. Place the cut vegetables aside.
STEP 3: MAKE THE BRINE
For the tamari pickles: Add water to a mason jar. Pour in the tamari and brown rice vinegar. Cover the jar with its lid and shake well to mix everything. Pour out the brine into a separate jug or container.
For the pink pickles: Add water to a mason jar. Pour in the ume vinegar. Cover the jar with its lid and shake well to mix everything. Pour out the brine into a separate jug or container.
For the radish pickles: Pour the water into a mason jar. Add in the sea salt and pickling spices. Cover the jar with its lid and shake well to mix everything. Pour out the brine into a separate jug or container.
STEP 4: PICKLE THE VEGETABLES
Layer the cut vegetables in the jar. Pour in the pickling brine. Cover the jar and shake it so that the brine coats all the pieces.
Take the lid off. If you don't have enough liquid to submerge the veggies or they keep floating to the top, weigh them down using a smaller-sized jar.
Cover the jars lightly with a piece of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band to keep fruit flies away. Leave out of direct sunlight on the counter for 24 hours. I like to put the pickling jars in a container just in case liquid seeps out of the jars as they are fermenting.
For the radish pickles recipe, cover the jar with its lid instead of cheesecloth and let it sit for three days. Loosen the lid once a day so that pressure doesn't build up inside the jar.
Once the pickling period is done, cover the jars and store them in the fridge. For the tamari pickles recipe, you can add maple syrup before storing it in the refrigerator. Feel free to add a sweetener to the other recipes as well.
Enjoy the pickles on their own or with other dishes!
- Pickle fruits instead of vegetables. Peaches, strawberries, grapes, and watermelon rind are all great options for pickled fruit recipes. However, you'll need to adjust the salt and sugar ratios as these pickles may have some natural sweetness.
- Serving suggestions. Serve these homemade pickles with veggie burgers and sandwiches. Add some to your salads. Pickles are also great light snacks on their own. In fact, they are great, tangy additions to party spreads.
- Make it sweet. For sweeter pickles, add a lot more sweetener of your choice.
- Make a larger or smaller batch. You can scale this recipe up or down. Keep the ratio of the ingredients needed to make the pickling brine the same. However, make sure you make enough to cover the veggies in the jars.
- Don't waste the pickle juice. Leftover pickle juice has many health benefits. Use it as a tangy base for vinaigrettes, as part of your dipping sauce, or as a marinade. Furthermore, you can salvage the not-so-crisp veggies in your fridge by adding them to a jar of pickle juice.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are pickles just cucumbers soaked in vinegar?
While most recipes call for cucumbers, you can pickle most vegetables and fruits. Pickles are vegetables soaked in brine and mixed with spices. As they soak in the mixture, they become pickles.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, this recipe is gluten-free, thanks to substituting tamari for soy sauce. It is also vegan-friendly and can be made keto-friendly by omitting maple syrup.
How long do homemade pickles last?
Depending on how you make them, homemade pickles can last anywhere between 5-14 days when stored in the refrigerator.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with us through social media by following us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!Print
RECIPES THAT PAIR WELL WITH HOMEMADE PICKLES:
My veggie burger recipe that is low in calories, has no preservatives, and can be customized to suit your diet.
My vegan tacos recipe that uses jackfruit, which is a great substitute for pulled pork or chicken.
3 quick and easy mason jar salad recipes that are great if you're trying to stick to a healthy diet.
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