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5 Easy Homemade Pickles Anyone Can Make

5 Easy Homemade Pickles Anyone Can Make

Pregnant women crave them. They make a sandwich sing. Cleopatra was rumored to consider them a beauty secret, and they’re even mentioned in the bible. That’s right, we’re talking about those little bites of crunchy, briny glory: the pickle. Though the humble pickle may have started life as a necessity to preserve foods for long storage, they’ve grown to be an obsession for many.

However, there’s no need to go running to the refrigerated section or the pickle aisle of your supermarket every time you get a craving. Creating your own pickles is easy, and you can even do it without investing in a lot of extra tools.

What you’ll need:

  1. Jars. While you can easily buy new jars from most supermarkets, it’s easy to save a few bucks by simply recycling jars from other grocery products such as pasta sauces, olives and even other pickles. Note: The jars must be clean. A wash with hot, soapy water or a run through the dishwasher should suffice for the pickle recipes below.
  2. A ladle. Sure, you can get away without having one. But it does make transferring brines to a jar that much easier.
  3. A refrigerator. While it is possible to create pickles that will do just fine on the shelf, that also requires additional techniques of steralizing and sealing your jars. For this round of pickle making, we’ll be focusing on pickles that even a novice can throw together.

1. Du Chua: Vietnamese Daikon & Carrot Pickles

If you’ve ever tucked into one of Vietnam’s most famous exports, the Bahn Mi sandwich, chances are you’ve already enjoyed Du Chua pickles. Recreating these at home is riddiculously easy. As the recipe makes quite a bit, you can easily share these around (or selfishly keep them for yourself – we won’t tell).

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 2. Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles

dill-pickles
    Image via Smitten Kitchen

    Once you discover how easy it is to make your own dill pickles, you’ll chuckle to yourself smugly as you saunter past the fancy refrigerated pickle section. This recipe comes from the always reliable Smitten Kitchen, and consistently produces a great, basic pickle. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, branch out with extra ingredients of your own, such as chopped garlic, a whole spicy chili pepper, or even extra pickling spice. That’s the great thing about pickles for the home chef – experimentation!

    • 8 larger or to 10 smaller firm, fresh Kirby (pickling) cucumbers
    • 3 teaspoons kosher, coarse or pickling salt
    • 1/2 cup white vinegar

    Slice cucumbers very thinly and place in a 1-liter or equivalent lidded jar. Add 3 teaspoons salt and dill, then pour in white vinegar. Close the jar and give it a few shakes to begin distributing the ingredients.

    The liquid level in the jar may appear low. However, within an hour or two, the salt will draw the moisture from the cucumbers and wilt them, while the liquid becomes a perfectly balanced pickle brine.

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    Place in the refrigerator and shake every once in awhile to keep distributing the brine.

    3. Small Batch Homemade Sauerkraut

    Forget the stuff you’ve seen in cans and the expensive jars in the refrigerated section, sauerkraut is actually relatively easy to make at home. This method of making sauerkraut is as old as pickling itself, and produces a traditional pickle that’s loaded with probiotics. While many homemade sauerkraut recipes produce more than most people could even store in their fridge, this small batch recipe lets you try it out without taking up valuable space.

    4. Rice Wine Quick Pickle

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      Unlike its apple cider or white vinegar counterparts, rice wine vinegar lends a more subtle, laid back flavor to your pickles.This particular recipe is also great for first-time picklers who might want to experiment, as it’s difficult to screw up. For example, try pickling rinsed, canned beetroot, thinly sliced cucumbers, baby carrots (hello, Bloody Mary condiment!) or even crunchy jicama. Simply fill your jar with your chosen vegetable, and pour over the pickling liquid. They last in your refrigerator for up to a month, but we seriously doubt they’ll be there that long.

      • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
      • 1 cup water
      • 3/4 cup sugar
      • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

      Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Select up to 3-4 cups of vegetables you would like to pickle and add to your jars. You may also add ingredients such as sprigs of fresh dill, peppercorns or even garlic at this point to customize your pickles. Pour liquid over, seal and refrigerate.

      5. Easy Countertop Kimchi

      Love Korean food? Then you’re probably already addicted to that spicy, cabbage concoction of kimchi. Like sauerkraut, kimchi relies on one of the most ancient pickling techniques – salting food and allowing it to naturally ferment. This recipe requires no cooking; just basic mixing on your part and the patience to wait the 4-5 days for it to ferment on your countertop. Once you’ve reached that lovely spicy stage, simply store in your refrigerator and eat with abandon.

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      Now that you’ve seen just how easy it is to make your own pickles, there’s no excuse not to start brining up every vegetable that enters your life. Try branching out by using these basic methods with other vegetables like cauliflower, eggplant or even crunchy green tomatoes. Experiment like crazy – you may just surprise yourself!

      Featured photo credit: Brandon Dimcheff via flic.kr

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      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

      Con #4: Unique Distractions

      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

      Final Thoughts

      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

      More About Working From Home

      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

      Reference

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