Ever found yourself with pounds of beets from a CSA surplus? Or knee-deep in cucumbers from a buying spree at the farmers market?

That extra produce no longer has to suffer a rotten fate. Waste less by learning how to pickle like a pro.

Pickling may seem like an activity for advanced foodies, but pickling is much easier than you may think.

While canned or processed pickles are the most well known, there’s another pickle to consider: Leaving brine-submersed vegetables out in warm temperatures produces oh-so-good-for-you lacto-fermented pickles (chock-full of healthy bacteria). Think sauerkraut and kimchi!

Here are the basics on how to pickle:

What You Need to Pickle

1. Fresh vegetable of choice, trimmed appropriately (cucumbers are just the beginning -- green beans, okra, cauliflower, carrots and beets are also excellent pickling options)

2. Salt, non-iodized

3. Vinegar (any will do)

4. Water

5. Sugar, to balance the pucker effect

6. Spice: Throw bay leaves and coriander seed into your brine or add a dill sprig to each jar

How to Pickle

1. Sterilize glass jars and lids in a bath of boiling water.

2. Bring vinegar and water (in equal proportion), salt and sugar (to taste) to a boil.

3. Fill jars with raw veggies.

4. Pour enough hot brine in the jars to cover your veggies.

5. For long-term pickling, seal jars tightly and submerge in the water bath. (Different vegetables will require different submersion times -- you can find specific instructions from vendors at the farmers market.)

6. For short-term storage, you can quick-pickle without the canning process by putting your jars directly in the fridge and waiting 24 hours before eating. (These will store for about two weeks.)

Seasonal veggies all year round? Yes, please!

Sara Kramer is a chef and butcher in Brooklyn, N.Y., who attended NYU and the Natural Gourmet Institute. She believes we should all think more about where our food comes from.


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