Learn how to quick-pickle seasonal ingredients with Seattle chef Renee Erickson

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Canning doesn’t get much easier than making quick pickles. Sturdy produce like onions, cucumbers, green beans, and chiles transform into crispy, spicy, and tangy pickles with a simple brine and a few minutes.

Start with a hearty, seasonal ingredient like red onions. Cut any large or bulky vegetables into smaller pieces so they fit better in the jar. Onions can be cut into theck slices and pulled apart into rings.

Put your main ingredient into a pot on the stove. Make a brine with sugar, white vinegar, and spices like black peppercorns, fresh herbs like rosemary in the pot. You can change the spices to create different flavors like coriander, allspice, and cumin for an Indian Pickle. Don’t worry about chopping up your fresh herbs either–simply rinse them well and drop them in whole.

Once you’ve added all of the ingredients for your brine, push the ingredients down into the pot if they bob up to the surface. You want everything fully submerged in the pot if possible. Simmer for several minutes before using tongs and a wide mouth funnel to fill your clean jars. The whole sprigs of herbs can be nestled into the jars as well. Pour in the hot brine to remove any space or air pockets. Fill your jars until the brine reaches about half of an inch under the top. Close the jars, but don’t over-tighten the lid. The jars need to be able to release gases as the vegetables inside pickle.

You can also use the same brine and technique for garlic, shallots, ramps, chard stems, fennel, and asparagus. No matter what you choose, these quick pickles will keep for about six months in the refrigerator.

When you're ready to enjoy them, Erickson recommends adding these red onion pickles to sandwiches, burgers, and even smoked fish. 

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