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One Moment in Brine: Quick Winter Pickling Techniques

If you missed summer's crop, we can help you out of your pickle.

After years of being banished to bready graves and condiment trays, the humble pickle is having a moment. Cucumber season is long gone -- just when we were itching to hole up, brew brines, and sterilize jars! -- but if you missed summer’s crop (or you're ready for more), editor-at-large Sarah Carey has two ways to get in on the winter canning fun.

Post-Frost Picks

Many year-round produce options hold up well to pickling. We love the Pickled Vidalia and Red Onions shown above, and Sarah recommends using the following vegetables in our Fast Homemade Pickles recipe. Simply do the associated prep work before you begin.

  • Cauliflower. Trim and cut 1 head cauliflower into florets.
  • Beets. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap beets in parchment-lined foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly, then rub off skins; discard. Cut beets into 3/4-inch-thick wedges.
  • Carrots. Peel baby carrots, leaving whole. Bring to a boil in liquid.

You’ll love chowing down on these plain, but for more ways to enjoy them, see our favorite creative recipes for pickles.

"Quickle" Fix

Not up for a full-fledged pickling spree? Try your hand at “quickling,” Sarah’s insta-curing technique for sharp, vegetal elements. “An acid bath removes the bite of raw onions and radishes but keeps their beloved crunch,” Sarah explains. “It’s a great way to bring dimension to a dish, because you can tinker with the flavor of a single ingredient.”

This super-speedy technique requires only three things: the vegetable in question, a splash of red wine vinegar, and about 10 minutes of rest. “You can get more elaborate -- add a pinch of sugar, let it sit for longer -- but 10 minutes is enough to give the flavor a lift,” Sarah says. Even better, adding a quickle to your salad won’t add any bowls to your dishwashing pile. “Make your quickle first. Then toss your salad on top of it,” Sarah recommends. Of course, salad isn't the only option. Try them on toast, or serve as a side to rich salmon or beef.

Want more of Sarah's low-maintenance approach to cooking? Check out her favorite uses for home-canned goods, or watch her work to inspire and inform your own culinary adventures.