While bread-and-butter pickles tend to skew a bit sweet, we reined it in for this version. We also found using a little turmeric in our brine adds a touch of bitterness to further balance the sweetness—plus it gives a beautiful color. While this brine is a good all-rounder, it’s especially nice paired with something with heat, like a jalapeño. We opted for a small amount of regular sugar for its clean taste, in addition to seasoned rice vinegar, which also contains some sugar. Sugar alternatives in pickles are tricky because they can affect the color and impart additional (unwanted) flavors. If you do want to use a substitute, in our experience, neutral-tasting ones like agave and liquid stevia have yielded the most favorable results.
1. First, fill your Mason jars with the veggies and garlic cloves. Leave a little room at the top so they can sit fully submerged in the brine. Depending on what you use and how you decide to slice it, you might need more or fewer jars. This method is very forgiving, so whatever you have should work fine.
2. Next make your brine. Combine the salt, sugar, spices, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the vinegars and turn off the heat. Carefully pour or ladle the brine over the prepped veggies. Let cool, uncovered, at room temperature. Once fully cooled, cover the jars with the lids and store in the fridge. The pickles should keep for a couple of weeks.