Try this simple quick pickles recipe. With just 10 minutes prep time needed, these tangy pickles are an easy snack, side or burger topping.
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The words pickled cucumber may bring to mind traditional preserved vegetable pickles such as gherkins, cornichons or bread and butter pickles. But there is another way to make pickled cucumbers that’s fast, simple and ideal for home cooks – quick pickled cucumbers.
Once you know how to make quick pickled cucumbers, you can use the same technique to pickle other veggies. Quick pickled vegetables are great for adding to salads, sandwiches and entertaining platters.
The techniques used to make traditional pickles means you can store them unopened in jars in the pantry for long periods and they will still be safe to eat. Quick pickles are only partially preserved – the combination of salt, vinegar and sugar in the pickling liquid stops them deteriorating as quickly as the fresh vegetables, but they still need to be kept in the fridge and used within a week. Preserving isn’t the main benefit of quick pickles – it’s all about the flavour and texture you get from the quick-pickling process.
Even though you’re not storing the pickles long term, it’s a good idea to sterilise your preserving jars and lids before using. To do this, gently boil them in a saucepan for 10 mins, then use tongs to carefully transfer them to a baking tray or board lined with a clean tea towel to air dry.
A basic pickling liquid is a mixture of salt, sugar, and vinegar. This creates the sweet and sour flavour you want in your pickles. You can use any vinegar you like to make pickles – apple cider vinegar has a great flavour, but rice vinegar or plain white vinegar work well too. Along with these ingredients, you can add any herbs or spices you want to use to flavour the pickles. This recipe uses mustard seeds, but other good spices to add include whole black peppercorns, dried chilli flakes, cumin, fennel and coriander seeds and ground turmeric or curry powder. For a quick dill pickled cucumber recipe, add fresh dill sprigs to the jar.
All you need to do to make these simple cucumber pickles is to combine all the ingredients in a large jar or smaller jars and then pop it in the fridge. Or, to help infuse the pickling liquid with extra flavour from the spices, bring the mixture to a simmer first, then carefully pour the hot liquid over the vegetables in the jar. Seal and leave to cool before storing in the fridge. It’s best to leave the pickles overnight before eating to give the flavours time to develop.
Once you’ve tried these tasty DIY pickles, get creative with making other quick pickled vegetables, such as red cabbage, zucchini, baby carrots and baby corn. Looking for easy ways to use pickled cucumbers? How about homemade tartare sauce to serve with traditional fish and chips. Or use up pickles and pickling liquid in a crunchy pickled vegetable salad.