Inspired by this post, I decided to try my hand at pickling veggies. My boyfriend’s mother is a pro at this and is always sending him home with jars aplenty full of green beans, hot peppers and other assorted pickled goodies. The very idea of pickling and canning reminds me of my childhood, when I used to visit a family friend, Ms. Tucker, an older lady whose kitchen was covered (practically every square inch) with jars and lids and veggies to be canned. I remember feeling very excited about the mysterious canning process, although I never learned quite how to do it.
You may have noticed that canning and pickling are increasingly trendy these days; however, they originally served as a useful and practical way of preserving the excess bounty of crops produced during the summer season- so that all those extra tomatoes, ears of corn, peppers, etc. didn’t go to waste.
For this first attempt, I opted for a quick pickling method which is basically soaking the veggies in vinegar and spices, which lasts about a week or so. If you want preserve your bounty for the long haul, you need to follow the process for canning.
1 zucchini sliced
1 small purple onion sliced/chopped
2 large carrots peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic (whole, peeled)
1.5 tblsps course salt
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
a few whole cloves
red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or you could use white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar (for a sweeter flavor add 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar)
1 quart glass jar with lid
Put the veggies in a colander, coat with the salt and allow to drain for a few hours. This process is similar to salting the eggplant.
After veggies have drained, shake off excess water, but DO NOT rinse! Stuff the veggies into the glass jar along with the rest of the spices. On a stove top combine vinegars and sugar in a small pot and heat until all sugar has dissolved. Pour the liquid and sugar mix into jar over veggies and seal with lid. Place in fridge until cool enough to eat. Serve as a condiment or eat straight form the jar. My boyfriend loves these pickled goodies on a hamburger.
For more info about preserving fruit, check out today’s NYT article.
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