July 15th, 2013

How to Quick Pickle: Quick Pickled Grapes & Quickest Lime-Pickled Red Onion

OneHungryMama quickest lime pickled red onions

I’m obsessed. I can’t stop quick pickling my summer produce and think that you should start quick pickling, too. Because who doesn’t want to make pickles? Quickly?

Canning is soul satisfying and pays off in the long run, but these days I’m all about the one hour soak. Maybe it’s summer life as a parent (why am I busier than ever?!) or maybe it’s being an entrepreneur with an expanding business—it’s probably a combination of the two—but, either way, I’ve been going for the quick hit lately. I’m all about instant pickle gratification.

Sometimes I take the extra 5 minutes to make a proper brine like with these “properly” quick pickled red onions, quick pickled raisins, and quick pickled radishes. But lately I haven’t bothered. Instead, I’ve been taking an even more quick and even more instantly gratifying approach.

I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m all about the hour soak. I just combine acid—usually vinegar, but sometimes citrus juice—with (more) sugar and (a little less) salt until both dissolve. Then I let my fruit and veggies marinate.

That’s it.

The yield of this quick and dirty fermentation isn’t particularly complex or even all that delicious eaten alone. Pickles made without a brine studded with fresh herbs and dried spices aren’t for snacking, but rather for serving as lively condiments. The crunch and quick-earned tanginess of these speedy pickles elevate a simple summer meal to something special.

My favorites so far have been lime pickled red onions (pictured above; which I use on tacos or along side grilled steak) and quick pickled grapes (below; to top pan seared chicken or fish or add to a spinach salad). And making both couldn’t be easier.

OneHungryMama quick pickled grapes

So, yea, I’m on a roll and a little bit obsessed. Because who doesn’t want pickles? Quickly?

Quickest Lime-Pickled Red Onions
(Can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*

Freshly squeezed lime juice
Sugar
Salt
Red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1. Whisk together lime juice, some water, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Don’t worry about ratios or measuring too much but, to give a sense, use approximately 1/2 cup of lime juice, 1/2 cup of water (or up to 1/2 cup more to help submerge onions), 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt for every onion.

2. Add red onion to a bowl and cover with lime juice mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour. Or, if making ahead of time, seal and allow to sit in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Drain onions or pluck what you need from the brine before using.

Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend this beginning at 12 months due to the sharp and tangy taste. While it may be too much for very beginner eaters, don’t be afraid: pickles are a great way to excite your little one’s palate. Just be mindful that their buds are more sensitive than ours, so keep the portions small.

Quick Pickled Grapes
(Can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*

Red wine vinegar
Sugar
Salt
Red seedless grapes, thinly sliced (or halved to save time)

1. Whisk together vinegar, some water, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Don’t worry about ratios or measuring too much but, to give a sense, use approximately 1/2 cup of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water (or up to a 1/2 cup total to help submerge the grapes), 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt for one big or two medium bunches of grapes.

2. Add sliced grapes to a bowl and cover with vinegar mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour. Or, if making ahead of time, seal and allow to sit in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Drain grapes or scoop the amount you need from the brine before using.

Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend this beginning at 12 months due to the sharp and tangy taste. While it may be too much for very beginner eaters, don’t be afraid: pickles are a great way to excite your little one’s palate. Just be mindful that their buds are more sensitive than ours, so keep the portions small.

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