(Picture courtesy of mrdestructicity at flickr.com.)
The garden is shut down now, and the last of my produce is being put away. For this family, some of it gets pickled. The taste of pickled veggies isn’t one everyone likes, but here we appreciate it.
Yesterday, I pickled beets, using the following recipe;
For the brine:
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Pack your vegetable of choice tightly in a 1-quart glass jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top. Set aside.
- Make the brine: Toast the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bring to a boil.
- Immediately pour the brine into the jar, making sure to cover the vegetables completely. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Seal the jar with a tightfitting lid and shake or rotate it to evenly distribute the brine and spices. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 day and preferably 1 week before using. The pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Pickling is a way used to keep fresh produce from spoiling, as well as giving it a spiced taste. I admit that I pick up pre-prepared Pickling Spice and avoid having to go find all the different elements.
Pickling is pretty widespread in this area of Pennsylvania, and my southern family did it on the farm.
In the United States and Canada, pickled cucumbers (most often referred to simply as “pickles” in Canada and the United States), olives, and sauerkraut are most popular, although pickles popular in other nations are also available.Giardiniera, a mixture of pickled peppers, celery and olives, is a popular condiment in Chicago and other cities with large Italian-American populations, and is often consumed with Italian beef sandwiches. Pickled eggs are common in theUpper Peninsula of Michigan. Pickled herring is available in the Upper Midwest.Pennsylvania Dutch Country has a strong tradition of pickled foods, includingchow-chow and red beet eggs. In the Southern United States, pickled okra andwatermelon rind are popular, as are deep-fried pickles and pickled pig’s feet, chicken eggs, quail eggs and pickled sausage. In Mexico, chili peppers, particularly of the Jalapeño and serrano varieties, pickled with onions, carrots and herbs form common condiments. Various pickled vegetables, fish, or eggs may make a side dish to a Canadian lunch or dinner. It has become quite trendy across Canada to pickle vegetables at home in Bernardin mason jars.
Pickled veggies are more an accompaniment to a meal than a main dish, to my taste, but is one we all can appreciate in one form or another.