Simply stated, quickly pickling is a game-changer. The technique—a version of vinegar pickling that doesn’t require a full canning process—produces briny, crunchy pickled vegetables in just a couple hours. Heat the brine until sugar and salt dissolve, then pour it over the vegetables and let them cool in the jar—voila, pickles.
Quick pickling won’t create shelf-stable vegetables—you’ll need to refrigerate them and eat them in a day or two—but the vinegar and sugar add extra flavor to salad vegetables, taco toppings, burger condiments, and more. Traditional pickles preserve food through anaerobic fermentation, during which lactobacillus bacteria turns sugars into lactic acids. Quick pickling is less about preserving foods than injecting them with extra flavor. For me, quick pickled red onions are a staple ingredient in pasta salads, just as quick pickled radishes are a go-to taco fixing and quick pickled carrots are perfect for pulled pork sandwiches.