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    The confident cook

    If your garden is overflowing with produce, make a quick brine and pickle the harvest

    Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

    Peak growing season means overflowing farmers’ markets and home gardens so full you have to give away some of your harvest. An easy way to preserve vegetables is to turn them into quick vinegar pickles. Use a basic brine for a wide variety of produce, simply swapping out the main ingredient and the spices you pack into the jar.

    This quick pickle goes into the fridge for up to a month, so you don’t have to worry about sealing jars in a water bath the way you might have seen your grandmother do. To make one quart — here we offer red onions, carrots, or cucumbers — fill a mason jar with one of the vegetables and its spices, ladle in hot brine, making sure the vegetables are completely submerged, then screw on the lid and leave to cool. If you don’t have canning jars, repurpose jelly jars or another jar you happen to have. You can double, triple, or even quadruple the brine to make more quarts at once. Don’t feel limited by these suggestions. The world is your pick.

    Quick pickled red onions

    Makes 1 quart


    1cup white wine vinegar
    1cup water
    3tablespoons sugar
    1tablespoon kosher salt
    1teaspoon whole black peppercorns


    1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and peppercorns.

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    2. Bring liquids to a boil.


    2medium red onions (about 1 pound), cut into thin wedges
    1teaspoon coriander seeds
    ½teaspoon crushed red pepper

    1. In a 1-quart mason jar, combine red onions, coriander, and crushed red pepper.

    2. Pour the hot brine into the jar to fill it; make sure onions are submerged. Screw on the lid and leave to cool on a cutting board.


    3. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

    Quick pickled carrots

    Follow the brine instructions (above). Cut 1 pound carrots into spears that will fit into a 1-quart mason jar. Pack them into the jar with a 1-inch piece fresh sliced ginger and 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Add hot brine; seal and store as for quick pickled red onions.

    Quick pickled cucumbers

    Follow the brine instructions (above). Slice 2 unpeeled cucumbers into ¼-inch rounds. Pack them into a 1-quart mason jar with 4 large sprigs fresh dill and 3 cloves sliced garlic. Add hot brine; seal and store as for quick pickled red onions.

    Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at