Pickle your fancy

pickles

Have you ever rummaged through the vegetable drawer, noticing produce that needs to be used but not being inspired to make anything from it? Or maybe you overindulged at the farmer's market and came home with more than you could manage. You mutter to yourself "Maybe tomorrow..." but tomorrow never comes, and you eventually discard the limp vegetables into the compost bin or trash can. There is an alternative to this scenario: turn that forlorn produce into pickles! Not only does pickling add pizzazz to almost any vegetable (and many fruits) in the crisper, it can also extend the food's shelf life.

Pickling used to be commonplace as a means to preserve the harvest, but like many traditional food practices, modern conveniences and busy lifestyles pushed it out of the mainstream. That is a shame because pickling is simple and can take your produce from drab to fab quite literally overnight. Cucumbers immediately come to mind when thinking about pickles, but you can pickle a peck of peppers, peaches,  green beans, onions, cauliflower, watermelon, and even eggs.

Pickles could hardly be simpler - make a brine, add aromatics and vegetables or fruit, and wait. If your vegetables are similar in size and density, you can make the most of odds and ends in the crisper and combine them to make a mixed pickle. Most recipes utilize a vinegar-based brine, and aromatics range from traditional dill and garlic to more exotic options like star anise and orange zest. Some "quick pickle" recipes cut the wait time down to just a few hours.

There are hundreds of pickle recipes available online from the EYB library - here are a few to get your mouth watering:

Gingered pickled carrots
Pickled red chiles
Pickled grapes with cinnamon and black pepper
Star anise daikon pickles
Pickled fennel with orange zest
Indian-spiced pickled green beans
Pickled cauliflower with pomegranate molasses 
Fig and ginger pickle

So clean out that vegetable drawer and get pickled!

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