Our goal at pickling place is to give you the knowledge necessary to learn how to make delicious pickled produce ranging from the traditional cucumbers, to the more exotic prunes, and everything in between.
First some basics; What is Pickling?
Pickling is the process of preserving a food through fermentation either in a brine (water,salt) or immersion in an acid (vinegar). This process lowers the PH balance of the food to a level acidic enough to kill off bacteria resulting in a longer shelf life.
Pickling is popular throughout the world and has great historical significance. The process is thought to have been started in India around 2000 B.C as a way to take produce over long voyages without it spoiling. From India this process spread throughout the ancient world as a convenient way to preserve food, which was very important during the time prior to refrigeration.
Today pickling is typically less of a necessity to preserve food and more of a choice by epicureans looking to experiment with what some may consider bland foods.
Top 3 Reasons to Pickle:
The majority of the population is not getting the recommended vegetables servings on a daily basis. The FDA recommends 4.5 cups of fruits/vegetables a day, however only somewhere between 15-24% of people are actually meeting that recommendation. Pickling is a great way to turn a chore like getting your daily intake of vegetable into an exciting and tasty experience.
Other than just upping your veggie intake, natural pickling can increase the amount of healthy gut bacteria that you need to have a functioning metabolism. When a vegetable is naturally pickled the process of fermentation takes place. As a byproduct lactobacilli and other Probiotics are formed. These Probiotics have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti cancer properties, and an all around positive impact on your health.
One important caveat to this however is that pickles and pickled vegetable you find in the grocery store do not contain this healthy bacteria because they undergo a very different process that includes high temperatures and pressure called pasteurization. So the key take away here is if you want all the health benefits of pickling you have to do it yourself.
Pickling’s origin can be traced back to the need to preserve foods in ancient times. Although we have refrigeration which slows down the decomposition process in produce, this process can still be used to further lengthen the life of vegetables.
Depending on what you are pickling and the process you used to pickle, i.e vinegar brine vs lacto-fermentation, determines the length of preservation. Generally speaking however vegetables or fruits pickled in vinegar can last up to 6 months. Which means you can be enjoying your delicious summer harvest long into the winter months.
Taste of course! –
My personal favorite reason to pickle is the taste. Sometimes a plain old vegetable just doesn’t do it. Experimenting with different types of pickled vegetables can lead to some extraordinary tastes. Take Kimchi for example, this Korean dish takes humble cabbage, adds spices, and through fermentation produces an extraordinary food.
Lacto-fermented Probiotic Cucumbers
There are many benefits to the natural fermentation of vegetables. The lacto-fermentation process, meaning without the acidic liquid (vinegar),helps promote healthy gut bacteria. This increases your immune response resulting a healthier happier you. One of my favorite lacto fermented foods is also one of the simplest recipes, cucumbers.
- 1-2 cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 bay leaves
- 4-5 sprigs of dill or 1 tablespoon dried
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 pint water
- 1 pint size mason jar
Step 1: Wash cucumber thoroughly and place in ice bath for 20-30 minutes. Dice roughly the garlic and place in sterile mason jar along with 1/2 tablespoon of peppercorn medley, 2 bay leaves, and a couple sprigs of dill .
Step 2: Slice the cucumbers evenly about a 1/4 inch thick. Place the cucumbers neatly in the jar on top of the spices. You should fill the jar about 2/3 of the way with cucumbers.
Step 3: Fill another pint size mason jar with cold filter water half way. Pour in 2 tablespoons of pickling salt, seal the lid tightly and shake for 10 seconds. Pour the brining mixture on top of the cucumbers before the salt settles. There should be about a quarter inch of space remaining.
Step 4: Place the remaining 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tablespoon peppercorn medley, 2-3 sprigs of dill, and garlic on top of of the cucumbers seal the lid and shake for 10 seconds. Finally you will want to place a weight inside the mason jar on top of the cucumbers to make sure the remain submerged. I find an upside down shot glass does the trick.
Leave the cucumbers in a room temperature environment for 4 days and open the lid daily to release the built up gases. After the 4 days has passed place them in your refrigerator and enjoy!
Sweet Spicy Tangy Pickled Red Onions
There is nothing better than the taste of a sweet red onion and nothing worse than when that onion gets old and start to turn unbearably sharp. If you have too many onions cluttering up your pantry or just want to change it up a bit check out this incredibly simple recipe for pickled red onion, they are a game changer.
- 1 red onion
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup of water
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
- 1 small clove of garlic roughly diced
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon red chili flake
- 1 wedge of lime
Step 1) Peel onion, thinly slice, and place into jar along with finely diced garlic and black pepper.
Step 2) In pot over medium heat combine vinegar, water, sugar, and pickling salt. Stir until the sufficiently blended no need to boil.
Step 3) Pour pickling brine over onions and dry seasoning. Slice a wedge from lime and submerge under the brine and add the red chili flakes.
Let sit until the jar of onions reaches room temperature then place on lid and store in refrigerator. Wait at least 24 hours before consuming. They will keep for up to 3 weeks refrigerated and go great on burgers :).
These onions can spice up any dish to take it from good to extraordinary. If you have ever tried to stay on an all veggie or vegan based diet for any length of time you will know how hard it is to keep the meals from getting bland. But whether you are making a veggie burger or veggie burrito, throw some of these pickled onions on it and they will be anything but bland.
- 1 cup (155 g) cooked brown rice*
- 1 cup (120 g) raw walnuts (or sub bread crumbs)
- 1/2 Tbsp grape seed or avocado oil, plus more for cooking
- 1/2 white onion (~55 g | 3/4 cup),finely diced
- 1 Tbsp (~8 g) each chili powder, cumin powder, and smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper, plus more for coating burgers
- 1 Tbsp (12 g) coconut sugar (or sub organic brown or muscovado sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups (227 g) cooked black beans*, well rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1/3 cup (22 g) panko bread crumbs (if gluten free, use gluten free bread crumbs)
- 3-4 Tbsp (51-68 g) vegan BBQ sauce
Beets are an all time favorite of mine but after awhile I tend to grow tired of the intensely rich flavor. A good way to switch up the flavor profile and make use of all the beets from your summer garden is to pickle them with this simple recipe.
- 1 beet
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 4 sprigs of dill
- 1 tbl peppercorn
- 1 tbl salt
- 2 wedges of lemon
- 1 pint size mason jar
Step 1) Cut beet greens from root and wash beet root thoroughly. Remove the skin from the beet root. I have found the best way to do this is with a hand held cheese grater, it is great at removing grim from the beet.
Step 2) Depending on the size of the beets you will want to cut them so they will fit in the jar. Usually cutting them in half will be sufficient.
Step 4) Stack the beets into jar along with the dry seasoning with the exception of the salt.
Step 5) Pour water and vinegar into a sauce pan, add salt and bring to a boil. Keep on stove top long enough to allow for the salt to dissolve. Once dissolved into the water and vinegar pour over the beets.
Step 6) Allow beets to cool to room temperature before placing lid on jar. Place pickled beets in the refrigerator and wait at least 2-4 days before consuming.
I absolutely love this recipe. The sweetness of the beet is combated by the tartness of the lemon and the tangyness of the dill. Also it is great since unlike most pickled beet recipes you don’t need to cook the beet so your not loosing a lot of the nutrition. Pickled beets make for a great snack or they also do well if you chop them up and add them to a salad.
Pickled beets make for a perfect substitute to the raw beet in this beet salad recipe:
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup frozen organic edamame
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds or pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 1 medium raw beet, peeled
- 1 medium-to-large carrot (or 1 additional medium beet),peeled
- 2 cups packed baby spinach or arugula, roughly chopped
- 1 avocado, cubed
>>>CHECK OUT MORE RECIPES<<<
Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, China, India, and Beyond
This book brings it back to where it all started, Southeastern Asia. If you have always been a fan of those cool side dishes that are usually ubiquitous at Asian restaurants, especially Korean, than you will want to check out Karen Solomon’s Asian Pickles. This is an absolute gem of a book and is a great way to expand your pickling knowledge base. The author does a really great job boiling done centuries of pickling tradition into 208 wisdom filled pages chuck full of interesting recipes. If you love pickling but are tired of the traditional staples than I can not recommend this book enough.
What people are saying:
“Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, China, India, and Beyond by Karen Solomon is much more than a cookbook as there’s much trivia included and humor too! It’s a very enjoyable read!
A few months ago, my boss shared some yellow squash and zucchini from his garden that he had pickled. They were too delicious for words! I resolved right there and then to delve into pickling myself and was thrilled to find this book offered for review at Net Galley. I’ve now read it and tried some of the recipes and am HOOKED!
First, I’m thrilled to share that the recipes include NO preservatives, artificial colors or flavorings, and other nasties. The book is segregated by geographical area: Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia. Each area includes an introduction where the author describes her experience and thoughts on the pickling offerings there along with basic regional styles and preparation and serving tips. One example of valuable tips is in working with garlic where the author shares how to best peel it via an online video and how to remove garlic smell from your hands utilizing a piece of metal. Neither were tips I’d ever heard previously! Another great tip was how to crack cardamom pods to make cardamom tea. AND still another that I found useful was how to shave fresh coconut.”