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Pickles are a refrigerator mainstay that make for the perfect sodium-packed snack, curbing your appetite and igniting your senses. However, many pickled vegetables sold in jars at the grocery store are full of sugar. With just a few ingredients, and just a little over one week, you learn how to pickle vegetables with lots of flavor and filled to the brim with healthy bacteria.

This very basic recipe will teach you how to pickle vegetables through fermentation. Once you learn how to pickle this way, you can customize the recipe in any way you choose, changing spices and vegetables. Wondering about the tea leaves you see in the ingredient list? Old-school pickling wisdom says that tannin-containing leaves, such as grape leaves or black tea leaves, can keep the vegetables from becoming too soft. This way, you are left with crispy-to-the-bite pickles!

How To Pickle Vegetables

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fine sea salt, kosher salt or pickling salt
  • 1 pinch of black tea leaves
  • 3 cups seasonal vegetables, chopped to fit the glass jar
  • 1 quart (4 cups) water
  • 1-quart mason jar (or several smaller jars)

Directions: Chop the vegetables into sticks or bite-sized pieces. Dissolve the salt in the water.

In the bottom of the mason jar(s), sprinkle the black tea leaves. Add the chopped vegetables, leaving at least 2 inches between the vegetables and the lid of the jar(s). Pour the brine over the vegetables so that the vegetables are 1 inch below the top of the brine. Use a small tea plate or a piece of root vegetable to fit in the jar and weigh down the vegetables to ensure that they are always submerged. Tighten the lid and place the jar in a stable environment between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit that does not receive direct sunlight.

Check on the lid daily to make sure it is not blown up from gas pressure. Simple loosen the lid to release gas and then tighten it again. After 8-10 days, the pickled vegetables should be ready. You will notice fermentation has taken place when you see bubbles forming in the brine. Store in the refrigerator thereafter. Enjoy in salads, as a palette cleanser between dishes, or as a snack to stave off hunger.

Image Credit: ccarlstead

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