Column: In a pickle


Commentary by Mark LaFay

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, but several May hot weather days has made me think summer started weeks ago. If you have a green thumb and got some early spring veggies in the ground, you may be up to your ears in produce by now. Here’s an idea: Try preserving your vegetables by pickling

Pickling spring vegetables is a delightful way to enjoy their crisp, tangy goodness throughout the year. This simple and rewarding process not only enhances their flavor but also extends their shelf life so that you can enjoy them through the year.

Pickling involves immersing vegetables in a vinegar-based brine, which not only preserves them but also imparts a delightful tangy flavor. Spring vegetables such as ramps, asparagus, radishes, green beans, turnips, cauliflower, spring onions, and garlic are ideal for pickling due to their freshness and crunchiness. The key to successful pickling is ensuring that the vegetables are fresh, clean and properly prepared.

Here’s a straightforward recipe to get you started on pickling your favorite spring vegetables:


• 2 cups of spring vegetables (such as sliced radishes, asparagus tips, carrot sticks, or green beans)

• 1 cup white vinegar

• 1 cup water

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

• 1 teaspoon dill seeds or a few fresh dill sprigs


1. Prepare the vegetables: Wash and trim the vegetables, cutting them into uniform sizes to ensure even pickling.

2. Make the brine: In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Remove from heat.

3. Pack the jars: Place the garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and dill into a clean, sterilized jar. Pack the vegetables tightly into the jar, leaving a little space at the top.

4. Add the brine: Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, ensuring they are fully submerged. Tap the jar gently to remove any air bubbles and add more brine if needed.

5. Seal and store: Seal the jar with a lid and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate the pickles. They will be ready to enjoy in about 24 hours but will develop more flavor if left to pickle for a few days.

Happy pickling!