Lets talk pickles, shall we? Besides being delicious, pretty, versatile, and just all-around awesome, they happen to be universal, too. Every culture I can think of pickles something. Not everyone pickles the same way, but I guarantee you that in every corner of the world, something is brined. It's sort of like dumplings in that respect... Not every country makes the same kind of dumpling or in the same way, but everyone has some version of a dumpling.
Besides being incredibly easy, you can customize your pickle. Not only can you change the spices, or ratio of salt, sugars, and acids, but thinking outside the box is fun, too. Below are some very ordinary vegetables, but people around the world pickle everything and everything. Eggs? Fish? Fruit? Yes, yes, and yes. On top of being univeral and versatile, anyone can eat some kind of pickle, surgery or not. I urge to make your own sometime. Fiddle with the ingredients, try something new. Who knows? You might start the latest pickling trend!
The recipes below are NOT sealed. In other words, they’re simply refrigerator pickles that will last up to 1 month in the fridge. If you want to can them properly, they’ll last up to a year. This recipe will make 4 quarts of pickled _______ (fill in the blank). I made beets, carrots, cucumbers, and asparagus but that’s only because I couldn’t find yellow wax beans which pickle beautifully. Actually, all string beans pickle beautifully.
Pickled VegetablesAdapted from Martha Stewart
- 1 large bunch carrots (any color)
- 2 Bunches beets (any color)
- 4-5 Persian Cucumbers (Kirby would do as well)
- 1 Bunch asparagus
- 4 Tsp whole black peppercorns
- 4 Tsp whole coriander seeds
- 4 Tsp whole fennel seeds
- 8 bay leaves (fresh or dried; Fresh is best if you can find them which can be tricky)
- 8 Tbs sugar
- 4 Tbs sea salt (I would advise against Kosher salt or table salt)
- 4 Cups white vinegar
- 4 Cups water
- 6 Large cloves garlic, cut in half (for asparagus, carrots, and cucumbers)
- 10 large sprigs of fresh dill (for cucumbers and carrots)
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (for asparagus or wax beans/string beans)
- 1 1/4″ by 1″ piece of ginger, skin on (for beets)
- 2 2″ strips of orange peel (for beets)
- Cut off the beet greens, (but save them for foods-sake! They are delicious sauteed with garlic and oil), and wrap the beets in foil. Bake at 400 for an hour. Let them cool, then rub the skins off and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.
- Sterilize the 4 quart-sized jars and their lids in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove and let dry.
- Mix the peppercorns, coriander, fennel, and bay together, set aside.
- Slice the carrots and cucumbers in sticks or rounds, whichever you prefer. Cut off the ends of the asparagus so that they will fit nicely in the jar.
- Bring the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil the carrots in the vinegar, water, sugar and salt pot for no more than 2 minutes. You want them cooked through but not soft. Immediately plunge in an ice bath or run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Repeat with the asparagus, set aside.
- Distribute the spices evenly between the jars. Put the thyme and garlic in the asparagus jar, the dill and the garlic in both the cucumber and carrot jars, and the ginger & orange in the beet jar.
- Fill the jars with their proper vegetables and when the boiling liquid cools, fill the jars almost to the top. Seal with the jar lids and refrigerate.