There are times when you need to go through the process of long term preservation that includes day long canning processes. There are also times when you can do a quick pickle to make pickles for the short term that will be consumed in a month. The quick pickle method makes a batch of pickled vegetables that are ready to eat the next day and will keep refrigerated for several weeks, also called a refrigerator pickle. Besides saving on a lot of time processing in pressure caner or water bath, these are easy and a great way to save vegetables from going bad. And now that we are in BBQ season, these are a great topping for those cookout items.
I had an opportunity to pick up Baby English cucumbers and radishes at the farmer's market. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I should have gotten more and made huge batches of pickles. You don't see these types of cucumbers very often and I love them. You can eat the skins and they don't have any bitter taste like some cukes. Afraid that I wouldn't get to eat them as quickly as I should I decided to preserve a few jars using a quick method. These will taste great on burgers at the next BBQ!
Because these need to be consumed in a span of about 2 months you want a medium amount of veggies. While I decided to pickle radishes and cucumbers you can substitute for almost anything like beans, or cauliflower. I plan on making dilly beans when my beans are ready this summer. My batch made 4 pint jars which is the prefect amount. I'll do some standard canning later this summer when I get cucumbers from my own garden.
To prepare the radishes I ran them over a mandolin and sliced them thin. I left the cucumbers whole.
For the brine you can be creative but as a general rule use equal amounts of vinegar and water. I ended up using 3 cups of each and a blend of white vinegar along with an unfiltered cider vinegar for a deeper flavor.
In a medium pot bring the water and vinegar to a boil along with 4 TBSP sugar (or honey), and spices. I used about 1 TBSP of black peppercorns, dried thyme, pepper flakes, coriander. I also tossed in some garlic cloves, sliced onion, and bay leaves. You can basically use any spices you like. The pepper flakes will add some spice but you could also use cumin and other Middle Eastern spices to make a totally different flavor profile. If you have an herb garden just collect whatever you think will work best. Rosemary tastes really great with pickles. There are no rules here and it's a blast to try new combinations each time.
After the brine comes to a boil, pour this over the veggies in a large bowl and allow this to cool to room temperature.
Add the veggies to wide mouth mason jars and top with the brine. You don't need to be concerned with head-space since you're not processing these. Cap with reusable plastic caps or standard lids and rings. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Allow these to cure for at least a day before eating but otherwise are ready right away. I find that giving them about 5 days to cure is best.
Remember they also make great gifts or a quick take along to a BBQ or picnic!