Kitchen Hacks

How to Pickle Anything at a Moment's Notice

February 20, 2018

Yesterday, in my perusings of the internet, I came across a kitchen habit that I haven’t quit thinking about. It appeared in Healthyish as part of an interview with Linda Granebring, a Swedish chef currently living and working in Paris. Her cooking is vegetable-forward and feels particularly modern, but it was a certain habit of hers that caught my eye. When asked how she handles leftover vegetables, produce with one foot out the door, she had this to say:

“I like having a simple pickle liquid (one part vinegar, two parts sugar, three parts water, boiled and cooled) in the fridge. It keeps forever and comes in handy if you have leftover cooked vegetables. Put them in a jar, pour the liquid on top and leave them for a couple of days. You can pickle almost anything, even cooked potatoes!”

With this simple, almost obvious, advice, Granebring set me forth on a brainblast from which I have yet to return. It’s so easy, but so, dare I say, genius. Rather than let your vegetables shrivel away in the crisper drawer or lose their luster on your counter, why not just toss them in brine that will both preserve and better them.

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Top Comment:
“I always seem to have pickling solution on hand, not by design, but because I typically overestimate how much I need for any given batch (I make a lot of pickles, some stable, others in the fridge), and I re-use brine at least once. May I respectfully caution that the ratio suggested above will produce a very sweet pickle. I strongly urge you to make a small batch of this to test before going all in. Look at any 10 recipes for pickled anything -- except for classic watermelon rind pickles, which tend always to be in more of a syrup than a brine -- and you'll see a much smaller ratio of sugar to the liquids. I offer this in the spirit of helpfulness. ;o)”
— AntoniaJames
Comment

Take, for example, the bag of radishes currently languishing at the back of my fridge. I bought them a week ago for a salad, used only four, and have yet to think of a creative use for the rest. I’ve snacked on a few, but otherwise, they sit there, untouched, growing weaker and less tasty by the hour. Obviously, pickling them is a bright idea. It will stop their maturation in its tracks and in a week or two give me the tangy crunch I need, whenever I want it. Granebring’s trick, however, is novel for the way it makes pickling so momentarily accessible. With a jar of pickling liquid on hand, I can transform anything in the moment. I know what I’ll be doing tonight…

Here are some pickling recipes to get me you started.

Have you heard of this trick before? Tell us others you swear by in the comments below.

6 Comments

Audrius S. February 21, 2018
Is it ok to replace distilled vinegar with something else, say, apple vinegar, etc? They don’t sell distilled vinegar in our part of the woods.
 
AntoniaJames February 21, 2018
I always seem to have pickling solution on hand, not by design, but because I typically overestimate how much I need for any given batch (I make a lot of pickles, some stable, others in the fridge), and I re-use brine at least once. <br /><br />May I respectfully caution that the ratio suggested above will produce a very sweet pickle. I strongly urge you to make a small batch of this to test before going all in.<br /><br /> Look at any 10 recipes for pickled anything -- except for classic watermelon rind pickles, which tend always to be in more of a syrup than a brine -- and you'll see a much smaller ratio of sugar to the liquids. I offer this in the spirit of helpfulness. ;o)
 
Mary February 25, 2018
Thanks for posting. The ratio of sugar looked excessive to me as well.
 
Eat-drink-dad February 21, 2018
I'm a big fan of pickling, and I always have a jar or crunchy pickled veg on hand to brighten up a meal! I love pickled chillis - great for cutting through the fattiness of rich meats - or dill pickled radish with oily fish. <br /><br />The idea of having a pickling liquor or standby is genius, and definitely something I'll be doing from now on! Thanks! <br />Ru <br />www.eatdrinkdad.com
 
BerryBaby February 20, 2018
I love green olives and always have a jar in the fridge. When the greens are gone, I open a can of black olives and add them to the green olive juice. After a couple of days, they have taken on the marinade flavor. Of course, I open another jar of green. Can’t have too many olives!
 
Lazyretirementgirl February 25, 2018
What a cool idea!