Amazuzuke (Quick Vinegar Pickles)
['2½ pounds (1.2 kg) assorted seasonal vegetables, trimmed and peeled', '6 shiso (perilla) leaves', '3 sprigs each thyme, dill, and parsley', '1½ ounces (40 g) ginger, peeled and sliced', '2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in halves', '1 teaspoon peppercorns (black or pink) or seeds (cumin, coriander, fennel, or mustard)', '4 dried red chiles or 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced crosswise and seeds removed', '2 cups (480 ml) rice vinegar', '2 cups (480 ml) filtered water', '1 piece of kombu, 1 x 6 inches (2.5 x 15 cm), cut into 12 pieces', '½ cup (100 g) cane sugar', '3 tablespoons sea salt', '1 tablespoon julienned orange or lemon peel']
Sterilize eight ½-pint (240 ml) mason jars.
Slice the vegetables into bite-size pieces, about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. If skinny like asparagus and green beans, leave them whole or cut them in half crosswise. Root vegetables should be blanched first for 1 minute in a pot of boiling water and strained before adding to the jars. Pack the vegetables, shiso, thyme, dill, and parsley in the sterilized jars tightly.
Combine the ginger, garlic, peppercorns, chiles, rice vinegar, filtered water, kombu, sugar, salt, and citrus peel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and pour the hot brine over the vegetables in the sterilized jars. Let cool, then seal the jars and refrigerate. You can start eating the pickles after 1 day. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
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