Tuesday, September 18, 2007

summer in a jar

as the summer comes near to its end, a variety of vegetables are still available — many of them still at their best. it is at this time i usually make up a few bottles of pickled vegetables for the next few months.

the following mixed preserved vegetables are different however, as they do not involve sterilizing jars and the whole canning process. they can be made in the matter of a half hour, if you're well organized. they are also ready to munch on within a mere 36 to 48 hours. the recipe itself is also very forgiving as you can add the spices and herbs that you like. i do suggest keeping the turmeric as it acts as an antibacterial, a flavouring, and a colouring agent. it has also been proven to be very healthy for one's system.

as for ratios, my preferred one is 3 T salt to every 6 to 8 c of water, with 1/4 c plain vinegar. i don't add more than 1 tsp of turmeric for this amount as things can turn bitter with more than this.

make sure your jars are big enough and are super clean as well as all utensils. you don't want all your work spoiled by contamination. the salt, vinegar and turmeric should serve to kill off anything lurking, anyway! :)

suitable vegetables to pickle are:
  • lebanese or kirby cucumbers (whole or cut lengthwise)
  • baby zucchini
  • cauliflower florets
  • cut carrots or baby carrots
  • bell peppers, sliced
  • cabbage in small wedges
  • green tomatoes
  • turnip (white kind), sliced
  • beets (these will dye everything red however)
  • baby eggplants (cut crosswise *like an X* to with 1/4 of the stem)
  • dill branches
  • mint (goes well with the baby eggplant)
  • summer savory, thyme, sage (use these sparingly)
  • parsley (italian type)
  • whole ones -- decide what you like but don't overdo the 'powerful' ones

(scary ugly jar with ducks on it! only thing i had big enough .... apologies)

quick pickled summer vegetables

any vegetables you choose to pickle in this brine will turn out pleasantly spiced and have a slight tingle of heat. if you want them plain, then take out the chilies and hot paprika, replacing it with regular paprika. these keep well in the back of the fridge for several months.


3 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 c white vinegar
8 c cold water
1 tsp turmeric, heaped (don't add more than this)
1/4 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper
2 red dried chilis
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch of dill
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
6 cloves

vegetables of your choice: i used carrots, cauliflower, green bell peppers


in a large pickle jar, pack the vegetables in tightly without breaking.

add the dill either half way through or near the top along with the whole spices (coriander seeds, dried chilies, bay leaf and cloves).

on top of everything, add the salt and turmeric.

pack more vegetables on top of this.

add the water & vinegar and close the lid extremely tightly.

give it a good shake over the sink in case of any leakage.

leave on the counter for 36 to 48 hours, shaking 2 x a day.

the pickles will be ready to eat after this short time. refrigerate after opening. the flavours will heighten over time, getting better.

note: the turmeric will never fully dissolve but will settle on the bottom, shake the jar each time to redistribute it.

also makes for a good present for neighbours or family if you have a lot of vegetables to use up.