Pick a Pickle

Almost every vegetable garden explodes in July. My first July harvest included the last of the spring greens and asparagus, midcycle broccoli and garlic scapes, and the first snap peas, carrots, beets, and bulb onions. The harvest will go straight into our mouths, but as the yields grow jugs of vinegar and a box of salt will be front and center, ready for pickling.

All of my recently harvested vegetables can be pickled, along with snap beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, cabbage, and even fruit. That’s the beauty of pickling: it lets you preserve any low-acid vegetable safely. And like many of my favorite processing techniques, it’s endlessly variable. Various pickling techniques let you preserve everything from a single cucumber to a box of cukes. You can flavor them to fit any meal: American dills or bread-and-butters with burgers, Japanese kyuri asazuke with sushi, Indian kheer uragai with curry—and that’s just a few variations on cucumber pickles.
Read more about quick and easy pickling

Cucumbers

As a kid, I helped my mom processed dill pickles in vinegar brine and what my family called “sweet pickles,” which tasted nothing like the ones on a restaurant burger. It was years before I learned that what I considered sweet pickles were typically sold as “bread-and-butter” pickles. They fall somewhere between the tangy dills and the sugary sweets. And I could eat them by the jar.

When I started canning on my own, pickles were in my first jars. They’re easy to pack and process, the vinegar ensures food safety, and the options for spices in the standard brine are endless. My mom followed the version in the old Ball Blue Book, but Ball has since updated its recipe and other authors have inspired me to make a few tweaks to the flavorings—and to use the brine once the jar is empty. Learn to make Better Bread-and-Butter Pickles and Braised Breakfast Potatoes