Pick-A-Deli Fresh Veggie Pickles


Sometimes it's hard to get the family to eat enough fresh vegatables.  Here's a sneaky way to make them into tasty snacks. It's a way to use extra produce from your garden, if you have one.  Preparation is extra easy using Tupperware's Pick-A-Deli.

About 8 cups of fresh veggies, but do include cauliflower and carrots, and green beans are great too.  Here's possibilities:
carrot, cut into sticks
cauliflower florets, broken to uniform sizes (about 1/2 small head)
whole frozen or fresh (trimmed) green beans
celery, cut into long fat slices on the diagonal
red bell pepper, in long slices
onion, cut in half stem to root, then into thick slices
whole small okra
chunky slices of cucumber
jicama, peeled, halved and cut into sticks

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Avoid soft veggies such as mushrooms or ripe tomatoes, starchy ones like potatoes, or bitsy ones such as corn kernels, peas or beans.  Experiment! Most sliced veggies such as celery, onion, pepper, carrot, should be about the thickness of the green beans.  Cucumber should be chunkier.  Keep adding the to the Pick-A-Deli as you cut them, until it's full, about 8 cups.

Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water.   I use a French fry basket to blanch the veggies and ice them, but you can scoop or use a large colander otherwise.  Place the veggies in the boiling water.  (Note: you may wish to separate the cauliflower and add during the last minute of boiling, otherwise it will be too soft.) Blanch for about 2 to 3 minutes, including the time to bring them back to a boil; they are done as soon as the green beans turn bright green and the carrots bright orange.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  Remove immediately and plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking process.

While they cool, prepare the dressing.  Combine and bring to a boil in a 4 Qt. stainless steel or enamel pan (not aluminum!):

2 C. water
2 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil
4 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled.
4 large bay leaves
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. dried dill or a heaping Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. peppercorns
1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)

Boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Drain the veggies well, then add to the dressing.  Let sit for about an hour or so to cool.  Assemble the Pick-A-Deli and spoon the veggies into them.  Pour the liquid and seasonings over the veggies, and refrigerate.  They are ready to eat in about 1 or 2 days.

Serve plain as a snack, or with a dip, bread and butter, or a piece of cheese; also so tasty chopped and served as a dressing on tacos, pupusas, quesadillas or burritos. They're a great snack to lay out at game time along with the dips, chips, and buffalo wings!

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