You Can Pickle That!

We've rounded up tips on how to pickle from the pros.


Photo by bruce peterson / styling by rowena day/ennis

Once winter arrives, there’s no saving grace like sun-warmed summer squash, green beans, and peaches at your fingertips. Pickling and canning are the easiest ways to capture summer’s best—and there’s no time like the present to stock up at the farmers’ market and start jarring. Mimi Graney, cofounder of Somerville’s urban-agriculture center Relish, shares her tips for preserving the rest of the season.

› Follow directions
When it comes to the basics—vinegar, salt, and sugar—it’s important to watch your measurements. “Canning isn’t where you want to get too creative, since you want to get your proportions correct,” Graney says.

› Invest in the right tools
“With any job, it gets more complicated if you’re trying to jerry-rig it,” Graney says. Try extracting wet jars from boiling water without a jar lifter, and you’ll see what she means. Make sure your vessels are in good shape, with no cracks. Most hardware stores sell good-quality ones, like Ball or Kerr.

› Label, Label, Label
Just like in a professional kitchen, your jar should tell you exactly what’s in it. It should also have your name and date. “I always stick my name on there in case I wind up giving it away or trading it with someone,” Graney says. “I’ll find myself enjoying something that someone gave me months ago, but not being able to thank them since I can’t remember where it came from.”

› First time pickling?
Try this recipe from Relish cofounder MaryCat Chaikin:

2 lbs. carrots (or try green cherry tomatoes, green beans, or pickling cucumbers)
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 medium red onion, quartered
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
2 1/2 c. water
2 c. apple-cider vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. salt

1. Place the carrots, garlic, onion, and thyme in a large heatproof jar, bowl, or other container.

2. Whisk remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, pour over carrots, and let cool, uncovered. Store refrigerated in a sealed container for several weeks.