Homegrown Pickled Vegetable Recipes

Want to preserve the best of your garden? Try these homegrown pickled vegetable recipes, including delicious pickling recipes for cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, green beans and mushrooms.

| July/August 1987

  • 106-081-01
    The recipes here are all for fresh-pack, or quick-process, pickles—which you can turn out in an afternoon—rather than for brined, or fermented, pickles, which may take several weeks.

  • 106-081-01

An easy way to bottle up some of your garden's best moments using these pickled vegetable recipes. Don't stop at cukes. Pickle zukes, tomatoes, carrots, beans and peas. 

Homegrown Pickled Vegetable Recipes

Pickles capture the essence of summer. They can be spicy as a breeze off the flower bed, or sharp as sudden lightning; sweet as slow July evenings, hot as long August nights. When you put up pickles, you preserve, warm memories for the cold days ahead.

Pickling is an easy way of "putting food by." The pickled vegetable recipes here are all for fresh-pack, or quick-process, pickles—which you can turn out in an afternoon—rather than for brined, or fermented, pickles, which may take several weeks. Each recipe involves merely cleaning and cutting the vegetables to appropriate lengths; preparing a vinegar-based pickling liquid; packing the vegetables and liquid in containers; and either immersing the jars in boiling water for a few minutes or allowing the pickles to age in the refrigerator until their flavors have mellowed.

Before you gather up all those excess vegetables your garden is producing and go to work, get hold of a good canning guide before using these pickled vegetable recipes. The standard one is the USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning, Preserving and Freezing ($4.80 postpaid from Dover Publications, New York, NY). A few tips should serve to give you an idea of what you're getting into.

Ingredients: Vegetables should be fresh, firm and free of mold and blemishes. If possible, use only pickling (pure granulated) salt; it has no iodine (which darkens the pickles) or anticaking agents (which cloud the liquid). If pickling salt is unavailable, just use non-iodized table salt and resign yourself to murky brine. Vinegar must be between 4% and 6% acid; homemade or gourmet vinegars of unknown acidity simply aren't safe as preservatives. Either white or cider vinegar will do, according to your taste; white is preferable for light-colored vegetables, since cider will darken them. If you use garlic (as several recipes call for), keep in mind that it harbors bacteria that can cause spoilage. Before adding it to the jars, peel the cloves and boil them for 1 minute in water or in the vinegar solution.

Vegetable Pickling Tools and Processing

Utensils: Pans for heating the pickling liquid should be enamel, stainless steel or glass, copper, galvanized or iron utensils may produce off-colors or form undesirable compounds. You'll need a water-bath canner—a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and a rack to hold canning jars. (Inexpensive models —$10 or so—are often available at discount and hardware stores.) Jars should be the kind sold specifically for home canning: glass jars with two-piece metal caps (a flat metal lid and a metal screw band). Don't reuse leftover containers from supermarket foods; they won't seal properly.


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