Fresh Refrigerator Pickles: Cauliflower, Carrots, Cukes, You Name It
This light brine works great with many foods: cucumbers, of course, but also carrots, turnips, onions, green beans, asparagus, jalapeno chiles, even apples. And your pickles will last for weeks in the fridge (where you MUST keep them at all times or the pickles will go bad). Don't skip the step of simmering the garlic; this cooks out sulfur compounds that otherwise will cause the cloves to turn a harmless but very unappetizing blue-green color from the acid in the vinegar.
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat.
In 2 clear 1-quart jars, place a few sprigs of dill. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Then pack the jars full of cucumbers, carrots, scallions or green beans, cauliflower and chiles. You want them to be tightly stuffed.
Bring the brine back to a boil, pour it over the vegetables to cover completely, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, better after a couple of days. And they'll keep for about 3 months.
Recipe courtesy Ted Allen, "In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks" (Clarkson-Potter)