Caught in a Pickle: The Pickling Trend
More than just a salty crunch to garnish your sandwich plate, pickling is trending in the culinary world and there’s more to the jar than you think! Versatile, flavorful and easy to do yourself, pickling offers a way to spice up your culinary creations, while also making use of vegetables you might find in abundance this season! Pickling is a process for preserving foods that has a long history, as it was used initially to extend the lifespan of foods for long journeys at sea. Who knew, thousands of years later we still use this method, but now we recognize the flavor, texture and presentation of these pungently taste products.
While peppers, cucumber and other vegetables with a strong outer skin are most common for pickling, you can pickle an array of vegetables from carrots and cauliflower to Brussels sprouts and asparagus.
Pickling Pieces: Pickling is a rather simple process requiring a few essential ingredients for perfectly pickled products.
1. Vegetables (the options are endless)
2. Vinegar (try a variety of vinegars for a variety of flavors) 5% Acidity
3. Pure Kosher Salt (Iodized salt with adversely affect the color and taste)
5. Dry or fresh spices (trust us…fresh is best)
Do The Can Can
If you choose to can your pickled items for storage ensure that the proper sterilization process is followed to ensure the safety of the food being pickled. The USDA provides a great guide called “Principles of Home Canning,” which can be found on their website and used as a great resource for the household chef! Also remember that your concocted pickling marinades will enhance over time in a jar, so make a note when utilizing herbs with strong flavors.
So you might know how to pickle vegetables, but what to do with them? The options are endless. Enjoyed simply as a snack or paired with an array of foods, pickled produce can add a delicious twist to the typical sandwich, salad, main dish entrée, and even a refreshing beverage.