Archive for August 2013

Quick Pickling

August 19th, 2013 — 9:03pm
Quick Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Vegetables

As the summer season for vegetables reaches its peak it becomes harder and harder to find recipes for the wave of tomatoes, followed by zucchini, and then followed by eggplant. In some cases you forget to look closely under the plants and over night a cute little zucchini morphs into a gigantic relatively flavorless squash. And with all your hard composting, planting and mulching at stake you really do not have the heart to give up and toss the freakish excesses of the vegetable garden into the compost pile.

This year not wanting to turn on the oven or cook over the stove I have also given over to the uses of kitchen chemistry to salvage the larger versions of the vegetables. Kitchen chemistry of course involves the use of pickling, although not with the intention of saving food for the winter, but with the intention of creating something edible out of something relatively tasteless. It involves thinly slicing vegetables and then soaking them in a pickling solution for a brief period of time before serving them as a side dish or condiment.

The key to success is the correct ratio of vinegar to sugar, and the selection of the pickling spices. I find the spices labeled “Pickling Spices” in the grocery store can work their magic over a long period of time. But in the short span of a few hours they can be downright overwhelming, and, too pickle-like. After all we are not using cucumbers necessarily but things that you would be more accustomed to sauté, or use in a red sauce. So the “Quick Pickle” requires something a bit more subtle. In my case I found a bit of caraway seed and fennel seed work just perfectly. As to what you choose to pickle I have come to the conclusion that necessity is greater than the influence of taste. Eggplant and zucchini work just as well as cucumber or carrot. Incredibly thin slices are important with the heartier zucchini and eggplant than with the cucumber or onion. You may want to invest in a mandolin or lose the tops of your fingers. So I offer my recipe for general purposes. What you choose to include is up to you. You really cannot go wrong.

1 comment » | Gardening, Recipes

Back to top