Chosen Bites: Preserving that summer taste

Hold on to summer for just a few more weeks by pickling the color and flavor of your favorite vegetables.

Pickled vegetables in jar 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Pickled vegetables in jar 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The market stalls are bursting with produce. It seems as though everywhere I turn there is an abundance of riotously colored vegetables and fruit. The possibilities seem endless; so much food, so little time. I feel blessed to live near so many farmers and shoppers who share enthusiasm for high quality, local produce.
But, like all good things, this too will end. The season won’t taper off slowly and gracefully. One day, and not too far from this moment, it will just end. The vines will simply not produce any more, the weather will turn cold and the party will be over. It is at this time of year that I start canning and pickling.
Refrigerator pickles are quick and simple. They tend to have a bright flavor and keep that summer feeling. I like to pickle beets, carrots, beans, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower. You name it, I’ve pickled it!
These pickled veggies can be the star or co-star of your late summer meals. I add them to salads, garnish steaks with them and eat them plattered with great cheeses and bread. Hold on to summer for just a few more weeks by pickling the color and flavor of summer’s bounty.
Basic pickling liquid
2 cups Apple Cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seed
1 small cinnamon stick
several slices of peeled ginger
1. Bring the above mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Cool completely.
2. Prep the vegetables that you are pickling by blanching and shocking them until they are tender or, in the case of beets, by roasting them until they are tender. Peel and cut to size. Arrange the vegetables in clean jars.
3. Pour the pickling mixture over the vegetables to completely cover and seal with tight fitting lids. Refrigerate the pickled vegetables for one week before serving.
The refrigerator pickles can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
Laura Frankel is the executive chef at Spertus Kosher Catering and the author of Jewish Cooking for all Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.