I have had a couple of meals in the last year that have been accompanied by some stupendous pickled vegetables. Spicy, sweet, Korean, Japanese, exotic, you name it, pickling is hot hot hot on trendy menus everywhere so it has been on my mind for awhile to get in the kitchen and do some experimenting. Here is my version of Pickling 101 and it is soooooo easy you will be making pickled everything in a snap. The key here is really understanding the pickling process which is incredibly simple, and then letting your inner foodie run wild with flavor combos. Here are the super lengthy, tricky directions:
There is such a huge selection of available types and flavors of vinegar on the market today, I’m partial to apple cider myself given the excellent health benefits and beautiful color but any of these will work fabulously.
Pretty straightforward, you can pickle just about anything although I prefer crunchy vegetables that you can slice or shave in a super thin way.
Here is where you get to have some fun, look in your pantry and spice drawer and be prepared to experiment. Anything goes!
Then you boil your pickling mix, chop up your veg, pour and let sit.
Boil your vinegar, salt, sugar and flavor mix to infuse all the flavors
Shave, slice, chop your vegetable selection. Here I used a peeler to create long, paper thin strips from some beautiful heirloom carrots.
Hard to believe but THAT’s IT! No joke, learning to tie your shoes is harder than this.
Pickles are inherently sour, but adding sweeteners, different spices, heat and mixing up your vegetable selection make for a crazy variety of combinations. Fun, fun, fun. I serve my pickled delectables with a ton of dishes, you’d be surprised how versatile they are. They can really transform a basic sandwich, are awesome over a steak, seared piece of fish or grilled chicken breast. They are a surprising and impressive addition to a cheese tray or charcuterie board and make for a ton of different appetizers – think beautiful spicy sweet carrot pickles with goat cheese on a cracker. They can be made ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, actually improving in taste with time. They can even be canned, which is what I am currently doing, trying to capture the last little bit of summer in a jar for my pantry. What can I say? I’m one of these people that will crack a smile every time I open a pretty little jar packed with a piece of summer during those cold winter months. Try this basic recipe as a start and then plan to go to town. There is really no such thing as a bad combination.
Zesty Awesome Heirloom Carrot Pickle
2 cups shaved Heirloom carrots – about 4-6
1.5 cups apple cider vinegar (feel free to use any kind of vinegar you like)
1 cup water
3 tbsps salt
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
flavorings (anything goes, here is my flavor combo which I just picked out of my spice rack):
1 tsp pink peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dill seeds
2 pieces star anise
couple of shards of cinnamon
1 branch dried wild fennel pods
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1. Combine all ingredients and gently boil in a saucepan for about 10 mins.
2. Pack your carrots in a jar or glass container.
3. Let sit until pickle reaches room temperature.
4. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or can for a longer preserve.