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Urban Harvest TO Rexdale Canning Series Ep. 2: Quick Pickling Tutorial

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In this episode, Chef Ema, from George Brown College, teaches us how to make a variety of quick pickles using ingredients we have at home!

------------------------------------------Quick Pickling Instructions-----------------------------------------------
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Yield 1 pint jar

1 cucumber, washed and trimmed, cut into slices
125ml apple cider or white wine vinegar
125ml water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon each mustard seeds, chilli flakes and black peppercorns
1 sprig of fresh dill

1. Wash a jar just large enough to hold all the slices in hot soapy water.
2. Combine vinegar water, salt and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil.
3. Place pickling spice and cucumber in the jar.
4. Pour boiling brine over cucumber slices to cover completely. If all cucumbers are not submerged, add a mix of vinegar and cold water to cover.
5. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for 3 to 4 weeks.

Quick Pickled Red Onion
Yield 1 pint jar

1 red onion washed and trimmed, thinly sliced
125ml apple cider vinegar
125ml water
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp salt

1. Wash a pint jar in hot soapy water.
2. Bring vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a boil, stir to dissolve solids.
3. Place spices and sliced onions into the jar.
4. Pour the brine over the onions and let cool to room temperature. If onions are not submerged, add a mix of vinegar and cold water to cover.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before eating.


Pickling is one of the oldest means of food preservation. The fresher the produce, the better the final product.

The flavours are not as complex as regular processed pickled vegetables, and they won't keep nearly as long, but the rewards of quick pickles are many, and with very little effort you could be enjoying them within a few hours.

You make an acidic brine and soak your vegetables in it.
You can quick pickle just about anything. Cucumbers are the most common choice, but any nice crisp vegetable will do: shallots, onions, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus make great pickles.

The process is fairly simple:
Combine brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar completely. Pour the brine over the prepared vegetables and spices.
In detail:
Step 1: Make the brine: The main ingredient in pickle brine is vinegar. You can use any vinegar with a minimum of 5% acidity: apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, white vinegar. Some recipes call for straight vinegar, most dilute it with water, but you can also use wine or a clear juice.
Salt is always included in the brine. Amounts vary, from less than a teaspoon to over a tablespoon per cup of liquid.

Sugar is added mostly for flavour and to make the pickles less sharp. White sugar is most common, but you can also use or brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
Spices. They add character and impart different flavour to your pickles.The most common are mustard seed, dill seed, peppercorns, bay leaves, coriander seeds and chilli flakes, but any spices can be used. You can also buy a pickling spice mix.
Fresh herbs. The most common fresh herb used in pickling is dill, both leaves and flowers, but other flavourful herbs can be used as well.

Step 2: Prepare your vegetables: Trim off any inedible pieces from the vegetables such as the ends of green beans, the root ends of onions or garlic, stem ends of chillies. Slice or dice, making sure they're all relatively the same size to ensure the consistency of the final product.

Step 3: Submerge your vegetables with brine: Place your spices and vegetables in a glass jar preferably sterilized, then pour in the boiling brine to submerge them completely. If they're not completely covered, top up with a little more vinegar and water. Refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight, to give the brine a chance to work its magic. The longer you brine, the tastier they will be. Quick pickles keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks if stored properly: always submerged by brine, and the jar securely closed with a lid, so not too much air goes in and makes them soft.

For longer storage at room temperature the pickles need to be processed in a water boiling bath or steam canned.

Chef Ema's Instagram: @hotpotsandchocolate

Urban Harvest Toronto: Rexdale (UHTR) is s a food access and waste diversion program that works with local households interested in sharing surplus produce grown on their properties with local food-banks. UHTR also offers a wide array of canning and preservation workshops focusing on ways to make the most of the produce we have at home!

UHTR is a health promotion program offered at Rexdale Community Health Centre. It is also a part of the City of Toronto's Community Reduce & Reuse Program.

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