If you have an abundance of summer produce, but the thought of traditional canning sounds daunting, this recipe is the answer. Quick pickles are an easy and flavorful use of a variety of seasonal vegetables, but they work especially well with items that are in full swing right now: cucumbers, squash and zucchini. Throw in sliced onion and peeled garlic cloves for extra flavor and hot peppers for added punch.
The method couldn’t be easier. You’re simply creating a straightforward brine with vinegar, water, sugar and salt on the stovetop, turning off the heat and adding thinly sliced vegetables. Transfer everything into an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of hours and you’ve got an incredible bread-and-butter pickle that will enhance a range of dishes.
Try them on pulled pork sandwiches or backyard burgers, or serve as a tasty side with Vietnamese spring rolls or alongside a Southern veggie supper. They’re also perfect for a homemade charcuterie platter.
And keep this in mind. There are no hard and fast rules on quick pickles. Use less sugar, or more. Omit the hot stuff. Add juniper berries, bay leaves or other spices. Or use rice wine, red wine or cider vinegar instead of white. It’s hard to go wrong.
Quick Sweet and Spicy Pickles
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
5 cups thinly sliced cucumbers, or a combination of cucumbers and squash
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 fresh ripe cayenne peppers
1 teaspoon chili flakes
To a medium saucepan, add vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Add sugar and salt and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add cucumbers, squash, onion, garlic cloves, peppers and chili flakes. Gently stir to combine. Let rest in saucepan for 8-10 minutes, pressing vegetables down with the back of a large spoon to ensure everything is well coated. Transfer to airtight container and store in refrigerator. Serve after about two hours. Pickles will keep in fridge for up to one month.