To pickle vegetables, boil brine made from equal parts of water and vinegar, salt, sugar equal to half the vinegar, and herbs and spices to taste. Pour the brine to within a half inch from the rims of clean, wide-mouth jars holding sliced vegetables. Add lids, and refrigerate.
The best vegetables for pickling are ones with tougher skins, such as peppers, cucumbers and root vegetables. Blanching (cooking vegetables for a short time in boiling water followed by a cold water bath) enhances the flavor of carrots, beets, Brussels spouts and peppers. Half-inch slices of cucumbers and zucchini are pretty displayed in jars, as are red onions, small mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower florets. Pack baby carrots, green beans and small onions whole. Mix colors and varieties of vegetables for impact.
Use cider or distilled vinegar and salt labeled for canning or pickling, or pure sea salt. Avoid common table salt, which may have additives that cloud the pickling brine. Use a light touch with garlic, and experiment with fresh and dried herbs and spices, keeping in mind that flavors continue to develop once the pickled veggies are refrigerated. Marinade vegetables for at least a day, and keep refrigerated up to a month.