Courtesy of chef Harlan Gibson, Clifford's Original Wine Bar
In this recipe for a refrigerator pickle, I use rice wine vinegar because its low acidity does not fade the color of the vegetables as quickly as the more typical white vinegar. The spices can vary - more or less of them to your taste. The only essential thing to a "pickle" is the brine - water, vinegar and salt. You can pickle your veggies for up to 4 weeks in the fridge for a stronger flavor before eating or you can set them out the next day for a fresh crunch with a glass of Spicewood Vineyards' Sauvignon Blanc. Just one reminder: the longer green vegetables "cook" in the acidic environment of the brine, the darker they get. That bright green color of store-bought dills is not natural, but the more muted green of the Texas sagebrush you'll get with age is worth the flavor.
Remember those bright yellow pickles you see at state fairs? That cook has added turmeric for color and maybe some Coleman's dry mustard for spice. I blanch all my green veggies before I pickle them, because when using cold brine the pickling needs a jump start. If I am pickling baby carrots, I just peel and trim; the hot brine right off the stove will blanch them and start the pickling process right away. Soft veggies like sliced cucumbers or yellow squash can be pickled raw. Try red onions with a red wine Vinegar and some Merlot in the brine, and add a whole dried clove or two to each jar for some extra interest. You can even pickle cauliflower in balsamic vinegar for another wonderful flavor, and the color is surprising.
For 1 Batch(es)