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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 January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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