by The Culinistas
Just as isolation has piqued our bread baking interest, it also has us thinking about ways to make our produce last. Pickling is an easy at home project that allows you to preserve and repurpose your crunchy veg for endless snacking, here are our top tips to the perfect pickle.
Pick Your Pickle
It’s always helpful to think about crunch factor when deciding what you want to pickle. Cucumbers are an obvious choice, however radishes, turnips, cauliflower, fennel, green beans, beets, carrots, and ginger also do well on the shelf. Don’t limit yourself to vegetables either, we pickle cherries to top seared pork, raisins to blend into vinaigrettes, and grapes to bring tang to chicory salads (see our Radicchio and Carrots in the photo above.)
Pick Your Liquid
If you’re pickling cruciferous veg or fresh chilis, try a “hot brine” where you’ll bring all the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, pour into your jar, and let cool before refrigerating. Your pickle brine should rely on a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to hot water. Most vinegars work well, we’re partial to apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar. You also want to add a half cup of sugar for every 2 cups of vinegar, and a healthy pinch of salt. Mix all your ingredients together, and pour over your chosen item. Lacto-fermenting is another way to develop a pickle, in which case you’d use just salt as your pickling agent. The live Lactobacillus bacteria in your fruit or veg convert it’s already present sugars into lactic acid, thus starting the fermentation process producing a tangy pickle without any added acid.
Pick Your Spices & Flavors
Add flavor by incorporating spices. Timut peppercorns add zing, cayenne adds heat, and sumac adds sweetness. Whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme, crushed garlic cloves, strips of citrus peel, and fresh chili peppers are all excellent ideas as well.
Store and Enjoy
Store your pickles in a dark, cool place, and once you’ve opened a jar, transfer to the fridge. Enjoy in salads and sandwiches. Blend into dressings and sauces for depth. Top your fatty proteins with tangy delicious morsels. Use the brine for martinis and pickle breads alike!
Thank you to Nadia Agsen for the beautiful photo.