Quick Refrigerator Pickles

This recipe is a flexible way to use up extra vegetables and to extend their shelf life.
Quick pickled vegetables will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Red onions and shallots will be good for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. It’s a perfect way to make sure your produce doesn’t die in the produce drawer, or get wasted when a large garden harvest comes in all at once!

Yields: 32 ounces quick pickles – fills 2 (16 ounce) ball jars

Ingredients:

Brine
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups vinegar of your choice*
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar

Possible Vegetables to Use
Cucumbers
Summer squash (zucchini or yellow squash)
Asparagus
Carrots
Radishes
Beets **
Red onions
Shallots
Ginger
Peppers (hot or mild)

Possible Spices and Flavorings to Add (dried or fresh herbs)
Black peppercorns
Bay leaves
Garlic
Ginger
Dill
Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano
Red Pepper Flakes
Mustard Seeds
Turmeric
Smoked Paprika
Whole, dried chilis
Whole coriander

Directions:

Make the brine: Add brine ingredients to a medium pot and fit with a lid. Bring to a low boil to dissolve the salt and sugar. Stir if needed to dissolve. Turn off the heat and leave covered to keep it hot.

Slice the vegetables while brine comes to a boil:
Cut long vegetables, like asparagus and carrots into pieces that will fit into a jar. Slice carrots either in long, really thin matchsticks, or in thin coin slices, so they pickle well.

You can use a mandolin to thinly slice radishes, cucumbers, red onions, shallots, summer squash, or even raw beets (if you slice beets really thinly they don’t need to be roasted first).
Add flavorings of your choice. You can crush the garlic with the side of a knife, so more of the flavor comes out, throw in a bay leaf and some peppercorns.

My favorite pickled radish seasoning is to add thin slices of ginger and a ½ teaspoon to a teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Asparagus is great with dill and garlic.

Just have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations!

After placing sliced vegetables into ball jars, pour hot brine over them. Leave 1 inch of head space at the top of the jars. Let cool down for 30 minutes or so. Cover tightly with lid and refrigerate. Enjoy in 24 hours!

* If you use balsamic vinegar, it will change the color of the vegetables. If you want to maintain the color, then use a white or apple cider vinegar.

**Beets need to be roasted (or boiled) before pickling.
Roasting instructions: Preheat oven to 400° F. Put ½ inch water in bottom of a 9×9 baking dish. Cut beets in half and place cut side down (no need to peel) in baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until knife easily goes all the way through. Once cool, chop into quarters or eighths. No need to peel them unless you want to.

Beet Cilantro-Lime Salsa

Haven’t tried beets? Well, here’s your chance. They’re super nutritious and oh so tasty! Or if you love beets, here is a fun way to use them. (Remember to use those tops too!) Beets are high in iron, so they’re great for maintaining healthy blood. Plus they taste so darn good!

Just whipped up this fab Beet Salsa with cilantro, jalapeño and lime. Would love to know if you give it a try and what you think.

Beet, Cilantro-Lime Salsa

Yields 3-4 cups

Ingredients

 

  • 3 large beets
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 inch jalapeño
  • 1/3 of a small, red onion

 

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off tops of beets and keep greens to use in another recipe, such as cooked greens.

Slice beets in half. Place in a loaf pan with about 1 inch of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in heated oven for 45-55 minutes to steam. They’re ready when a knife goes through easily to the middle.

Drain the liquid carefully into the sink (Watch out because it will stain!) Let them cool and the peels should slide off easily with your fingers. Slice into thin, small strips.

Rough chop the cilantro and finely mince the onion and jalapeño. (Wash hands thoroughly after handling jalapeño and do not touch eyes or face.) 

Juice the lime into your mixing or serving bowl and add all the fresh ingredients. Top with salt and slices and toss well to coat everything. 

Let chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Longer is better as the flavors will develop. 

Enjoy on burgers, on fish tacos, veggie tacos, and with tortilla chips. Have fun experimenting with the uses!

I’d love to hear how you like it and what creative ways you come up with for this tasty salsa. 

The Empowered Kitchen Tips

This salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover to keep fresh. Cooked beets do not freeze well, so enjoy this the week you make it.

Tzatziki

Here’s a fun way to bring an international flare to Memorial Day weekend. This tzatziki (yogurt cucumber sauce) is great to have on hand for a BBQ because it goes perfectly with a beef or lamb burger, with chicken and as a topping for veggie burgers. Yum!

To use the leftover cucumber juice, you can drink it straight or add it to a smoothie. It’s super hydrating and delicious! My favorite way is to use it in a refreshing summer cocktail recipe. Check that out here. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!

Finished Tzatziki 

Tzatziki

Yields: 3 cups sauce

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups whole or 2% plain or Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Greek Seasoning (or oregano)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley for serving (optional)
  • Warm pita bread for serving (optional)
  • Sliced vegetables for serving (optional)

 

Directions:

Prep the cucumber. Peel cucumber into stripes. This means leaving some of the green in long stripes along the cucumber, so it has alternating peeled and unpeeled stripes. Discard the peels.

Using a box grater, grate the cucumbers. Coat with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer cucumber to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to drain. Optionally Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheesecloth or a double thickness napkin or paper towel and squeeze dry. Set aside.

Make the garlic paste. Peel the garlic cloves. Place the garlic cloves in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the vinegar. Blend or mash and add olive oil until you make a thick paste.

Combine and chill. Add the cucumber and garlic paste to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, oregano or Greek Seasoning and white or black pepper. Combine thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce and transfer to serving bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired. Can top with chopped parsley as well.

Great with Chicken Shawarma, falafel, lamb meatballs or your favorite sliced vegetables. Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Tahini Sauce

This is seriously my new favorite sauce. It’s SO simple and everyone who tastes it is really surprised by how easy and delicious it is. Smooth and exquisite.  

Tahini Sauce With Aleppo Pepper

Yields: 2 cups tahini sauce

Ingredients:

 

  • ⅔ cup tahini paste
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 ½ small lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt

 

Optional

 

  • 4-6 sprigs parsley (blended with other ingredients)
  • Sprinkle of Aleppo pepper

 

Directions:

Peel garlic and slice lemons in half. Juice lemons into blender.

Combine all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. If you blend parsley into the sauce, it will be green and have an added boost of antioxidants. 

Enjoy with sliced carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, or as a sauce for lamb meatballs, roasted eggplant, falafel, in a pita or shawarma. They’re very filling as a snack with roasted garbanzo beans. Mmm…

Keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5-6 days.

Inspired by Ottolenghi’s Tahini Sauce

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