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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 July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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