The Rise of the Humble Pickle

image by Lisa Rising

You either love them or hate them, but either way pickles are back on the food scene.

Since the re-emergence of classics such as sauerkraut and kimchi, pickling your own vegetables has become a trend that many food lovers are becoming interested in. It’s a simple and cost effective way to make the most out of your over-ripe veggies rather than throwing them away.

Pickles have not always been appealing, and although the sound of it may seem unpleasant, you can actually achieve really flavoursome results that can add a bit of zing to a meal.

As soon as the vegetables have been sealed in an airtight jar with vinegar, salt and sugar, they start a process called fermentation. This creates friendly bacteria that help to break down the cellulose in foods that can be difficult to digest. But not only that, pickles are also packed with vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics that can help to improve digestion and strengthen the immune system.

Many trendy bars and restaurants have caught on to the pickle trend by introducing them as a starter option on their menu. The crispness and palate cleansing properties of the pickle have made them a popular accompaniment to a glass of craft ale.

If you don’t fancy making your own home-brewed pickles then the next best option is to source fresh products that have been fermented naturally. You can usually find a good batch of sauerkraut at your local health food store.

RECIPE – Quick & Easy Pickled Veg

To begin you will need:

  • An airtight jar (Mason and Kilner jars are quite popular)
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Heatproof bowl
  • 4 portions of vegetables (popular choices are cabbage, beetroots, cucumber, radishes, carrots, red onions and cauliflower)
  • ½ cup of vinegar (white wine and cider vinegars work best)
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Note: Get creative by adding different types of herbs and spices. Other options that work well are celery seeds, bay leaves, chillies, cumin, cloves, ginger and turmeric.

Method

  1. Wash and prepare your vegetables by cutting them into slices
  2. Heat your saucepan over a medium heat and combine vinegar, salt and sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved
  3. Transfer the liquid into a heat proof bowl then pour in the cold water
  4. Place the vegetables, mustard seeds, dill, bay leaves and garlic in an airtight jar
  5. Pour the liquid into the jar making sure you have covered all the vegetables
  6. Cover and allow to cool for a couple of hours before transferring to the fridge
  7. Keep refrigerated for about 2 weeks

 

Rene Buckle

eirene@bjournal.co

Feature image: Lisa Rising via the Creative Commons license

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