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Words and Photos by Kelly Franson, Slow Food Youth Network

It’s fall, which means I have pumpkins and pickles on my mind. The pumpkins are self-explanatory, but the pickles? Most people think of summer as the prime time to preserve the season’s bounty, but I personally like my summer produce fresh and my fall produce tangy and pickled. But the truth is, you can pickle all year round! It’s an easy way to reduce food waste – in fact, you can even pickle “food waste” itself like watermelon rinds and citrus peels.

Here’s the one “pickle formula” you’ll ever need to save any excess fruits, veggies, or heck even fungi, from their ill-fated demise.

Ingredients

+1 part vinegar

+1 part water

+1 tablespoon salt for every 2 cups of liquid

+Your choice of herbs and spices

Process
  1. Bring the vinegar, water, salt, and spices to a boil until everything is evenly dissolved.
  2. Find any glass jar with a lid that you have on hand, and pack in your fruit/veggies/herbs.
  3. Pour the brine mixture over the vegetables and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cooled, cap the jar and stick in the fridge. For ultra flavor potential, let the pickles sit for a week in the fridge. They should last around 3 months thereafter!

You can customize this “pickle formula” to fit your own taste preferences or to use up what you already have on hand. Here’s how I pickled some overripe eggplant I hadn’t yet used up:

Rosemary Pickled Eggplant
  • A combo of rice vinegar and champagne vinegar (no particular rhyme or reason here – I wanted to use up what I had in my pantry, but thought the sweetness of these vinegars would pair nicely with the eggplant)
  • Turmeric sea salt (which imbued a beautiful golden hue to the brine)
  • Trader Joe’s Italian Soffritto Seasoning
  • Sprig of rosemary from my fridge
  • And finally the eggplant!