Sunday, March 18, 2018

ChezCindy: Quick Pickled Vegetables

So often we use old expressions without giving thought to the origin.  When someone uses the phrase to be in a pickle, there are numerous meanings.  Generally, it is used when found to be in an awkward, unexpected situation.  It can also refer to one's condition after enjoying too many alcoholic beverages.  Which could be the same as an awkward, unexpected situation, as our favorite spiked beverages can sometimes leave us wondering, "how did that happen?".  Not that this has ever happened to me..... 

In the 1700's, the word pickle referred to a mixture of spiced, salted vinegar that was used as a preservative.  That is where we are going today: a quick pickle to extend and flavor the use of vegetables.  Quick pickles are different than the long-storage pickles that are fermented and stored in the pantry for months.  A quick pickled vegetable will store in the refrigerator for one month.  Pickled vegetables add flavor and texture to sandwiches, salads and other favorites such as tacos!  Here's how to do it.  

There is a basic ratio when quick pickling.  Equal parts water and vinegar, plus equal parts kosher salt and sugar, plus dried herbs and spices for flavor.  The chart below offers examples of what to use.  I often have pickled red onions in my fridge.  The red onions create a pretty pink brine that develops from the color of the onions.  Using a mandolin, thinly slice the onions and add dried cumin see and mustard seed for flavor.  The subtle flavor of cumin makes a difference.  English cucumbers are best to use for making 'pickles' as they have smaller seeds.  These can be sliced thinly for sandwiches or into large chunks to include on a vegetable tray.  I like using coriander seeds and tucking a few cloves of garlic into the jar for a traditional flavor.  Anytime you want to add heat to the vegetables, consider adding dried red pepper flakes.  

Quick Pickled Vegetables     
Glass Jars - Choices
Fresh Vegetables - Choices
Dried Whole Spices - Choices
~English Cucumber
~Coriander Seeds
~Red Onion
~Cumin Seeds

~Mustard Seeds

1-pound vegetables, cleaned and cut into pieces or thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried whole spices, any combination

Place the cleaned cut vegetables into the canning jars, lightly packing to fit.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, dissolving the salt and sugar.  Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables to cover them completely, filling the jar to 1/2-inch from the top of the jar.  Seal the jar tightly with the lid.  Allow to cool on the counter.  Place the cooled jar in the refrigerator.  Wait 24 hours before enjoying so that the vegetables have time to pickle.  The vegetables will develop more flavor as they age.  Store in the fridge for up to one month.  

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