For the pickled vegetables: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. Place the vegetables in the boiling water and let cook until vibrant in color, but still firm, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a prepared ice bath, let sit until cool and drain. Transfer the blanched vegetables to a clean jar* (or jars) with the garlic. Top with spices and herbs, and set aside.
For the marinade: Combine the sugar, vinegar and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture comes to just under a boil. Pour the mixture directly over the vegetables and seasonings. Allow to cool to room temperature, cap, and refrigerate. Store refrigerated for at least 48 hours and for up to 1 month.
Properly-handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.
To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from boiling water. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.
Recipe courtesy of Chuck Hughes