Simple Summer Pickles


by Lynne Vea, PCC Natural Markets Chef

Posted on June 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Summer is fleeting, so why not capture some of its beauty by making these simple and delicious pickles. You can choose to make them spicy or keep them mild. I have recommended 3 types of veggies so you will have a colorful display. If you like pickled stone fruit, such as cherries or plums, just double the sugar and add 2 crushed cinnamon sticks to the pickling spices.
 (Makes 6 pint jars)

2 pounds organic carrots, ends trimmed and peeled
2 pounds organic English cucumbers
1 pound organic green beans, trimmed
6 cups white wine vinegar
(Or substitute 2 cups of apple cider vinegar for 2 cups of the white wine vinegar)
1 cup water
1 cup unrefined white sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup pickling spices (found in the bulk spice section at PCC) or make your own, recipe below
6 garlic cloves
Dill or fennel sprigs
3 jalapeno chiles, or your favorite chiles,  cut in half lengthwise (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)
Choose 6 wide mouth pint jars.

 Cut the carrots into strips and trim them to 3/4 inch shorter that the inside of the jar. Cut the cucumbers into 1/8th inch thick slices on the diagonal. Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes and refresh in cold water.

Place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pickling spices in non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the spices steep while you are preparing the jars.

Wash and rinse jars; bring to a boil in a large pot, turn down heat and let stand in hot water until ready to use. In a smaller pot, bring lids and rings to boil; turn down heat; let stand in hot water until ready to use.

Crush the garlic cloves and place one in each jar. If you like spicy pickles, place a half jalapeno in each jar. Divide the carrots, cucumbers and beans between the jars, (putting only one kind of veggie in each). Pack them in tightly as they will shrink a bit in the brine. Tuck in the dill or fennel sprigs (and lemon slices if you like), as you pack the jars.

Strain the vinegar. Carefully fill the jars with the hot vinegar to 1/2" of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put the filled jars in boiling water to cover. A canning pot works great, since it has a rack in the bottom to keep the jars from rattling around. Boil 8-10 min. (add 1 min. more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from the water with long tongs or canning tongs. Let jars cool. Check the seals-lids should be sucked down. These will last about 2-3 months in refrigerator once opened.

Pickling spice blend:
12 allspice berries
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon mustard seeds