All-Purpose Quick Pickle Brine

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Let’s be quick about this because you have way better things to do than sit inside pickling over a steaming stove all summer.

On Saturday, my darling Italian neighbor gave me peppers, cucumbers and parsley from her garden. My garden is suffering, big time, so I got a little glassy-eyed when she handed me her harvest. (sniff, sniff) I thanked her immediately with a jar of orange marmalade but promised to hand-deliver my homemade ricotta because marmalade and ricotta are a pretty stellar combination.

I sliced up the banana peppers for this very quick pickle but, honestly, felt they were too special to linger in the back of my fridge. I knew they’d be fairly delicious on some homemade labneh, a cheese made from strained yogurt. I set up a sieve lined with cheese cloth and filled it with seasoned Greek yogurt (sea salt, garlic, paprika). I ignored it for 24 hours.

The next morning, I made homemade pita, a five-ingredient recipe that requires just a bit of planning, especially if you want it for breakfast or brunch. It’s a simple combination of yeast and warm water mixed with flour, olive oil, and sea salt. After mixing and then kneading on a well-floured surface, the dough is placed into a well-oiled bowl and covered with a dish towel for a one-hour rest and I take a my own sorta rest with a big cup of coffee and a doughnut.

While I pan-fry the pita, I also got my homemade ricotta going. That’s even easier than the pita, with just three ingredients – whole milk, lemon juice and sea salt. While the ricotta sets up, we ate homemade pitas with labneh, herbs (including the parsley), scallions and pickled peppers. I carted the peppers and ricotta down to my neighbor and called it a food-gift-filled weekend.

You can use the following brine for any and all vegetables. I often add herbs like oregano or peppercorns or chilis to the pot to increase the flavor factor, though it’s not necessary. Just go with whatever you have on hand. If you’re short on time, then consider ordering these delicious preserved items I’ve tasted and loved: Pickled Pear Tomatoes; Pickled Padron Peppers; and Triple Ale Onion Spread.

All-Purpose Quick Pickle Brine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 3 cups vegetables, cleaned and sliced

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Remove from the heat and add your vegetables. Let cool for 15 minutes. Add vegetables and brine to a sterilized jar, seal and store in the fridge for up to 2 months.

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Photos taken and styled by Maggie Battista.

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