Anyone with a garden knows that the bounty of even small plot can overwhelm daily food needs. The quickest solution to a bumper crop? Pickles. The whole recipe is really the brine, so feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have in excess. Refrigerated, these will keep for a month.
Makes 3 Quarts
6 cups white wine vinegar
4 cups water
3 tablespoons sea salt
15 black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
½ cup sugar
3 fennel bulbs, cut into ½-inch wedges
2 small zucchini, cut into 5x ½-inch batons
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
10 small red onion with tops if possible, halved
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
In a large nonreactive saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water, sea salt, peppercorns, garlic, fennel seeds, and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, then add the fennel. Cook the fennel until just tender, about 4 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl or platter.
Add the zucchini and cook until just tender, about 1 minute, then add to the fennel. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 3 minutes, and remove to combine with the fennel and zucchini. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 2 minutes, and combine with other vegetables.
Return the cooking liquid to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oil and vinegar.
Divide the vegetables among several 1-quart canning jars and cover them with the cooking liquid. It there is not enough liquid, add a little white wine vinegar to cover. Allow the jars to cool, cover with lids, and refrigerate.