When we think of pickled cabbages, we might think of sauerkraut: finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and distinctively tangy flavor. For myself, I like a crunchier variety of pickled cabbage. I grew up eating a Chinese cabbage pickle variety that is often served in restaurants as an appetizer. They are so easy to prepare and packed with flavor. When I am meal prepping, I find that adding some pickles to my container increases my appetite and brings a different flavor profile to my lunch.
When consumed in modest amounts, pickles are healthy and low in calories. They offer a good source of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and calcium. In fact, when I pickle my own vegetables as opposed to store bought ones, I add no salt. This means that the pickled veggies may not last as long as store bought ones, but also means that they are healthier to eat.
I wrote an article about pickled vegetables in 2020. However, I found adding more ingredients to be time consuming, so I recently created a few quick pickling techniques that save you time and doesn’t compromise on taste. Generally, I store them in the fridge overnight and they are ready to enjoy. It takes me about 5-6 days to go through a jar (but this is also because I pack my pickles for lunch every day).
Your favorite pickling veggies. Mine include:
250 mL water
250 mL white vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
The difference between quick pickling and normal pickling is the time and method to prepare the vegetables. Quick pickling doesn’t require heat or canning. The vegetables are placed in a jar and a brine (vinegar-based) is poured over the contents. Then the contents are left to sit in the fridge overnight or a few days for optimal flavor. This is perfect for small batch pickling and home chefs. Preparation time takes about 10-15 minutes and is little to no mess or cleanup.
Normal pickling requires canning the pickles and produces more shelf stable products that can be stored for months and years. This is not typical of home chefs and you should avoid eating your quick-pickled veggies months and years after the preparation date.
- Chop your veggies into bite sized pieces (sometimes I like to Julienne my daikon and carrots as it absorbs flavor much better.
- Place your chopped veggies into a mason jar.
- Measure 250 mL of water, 250 mL of white vinegar and place them in a pot and boil.
- Pour the boiled water/vinegar brine over the veggies in the jar and ensure water covers to the top of the veggies. You can use a spoon to compact the contents.
- Wait until jar cools to room temperature.
- Store in fridge overnight and serve the next day (for optimal flavor wait 2-3 days after initial preparation).
Ideas for meals with pickled veggies
- Reuben sandwiches: these sandwiches cannot be served without the famous sauerkraut. However, you can replace the traditional sauerkraut with pickled radishes or julienned carrots or beets.
- Grilled meats: pickled cabbages alongside grilled or BBQ’ed meats add a refreshing flavor that cuts the richness of the meat.
- Salads: whenever I prepare a traditional salad, I like to sprinkle some pickled veggies on top to add flavor and crunch to the mix.