The fastest and easiest way to make vegetable pickles (and the most delicious way to take advantage of vegetable scraps)

Desserts

Back in 2017 we commented on the boom that probiotics were experiencing, and at the end of the following year the forecasts pointed to fermented and pickled foods that were going to set trends in gastronomy. Far from being something new, pickling food is one of the oldest cooking techniques that is definitely worth recovering. And it is perfectly compatible with today's rhythms of life, since you can make homemade pickles quickly and easily.

What are pickles?

The popular variants, the vinegar appetizers that accompany olives and shape banderillas and other snacks, are mostly pickled vegetables. Pickling is a food preservation process that consists of subjecting the product to a solution of vinegar and other ingredients, such as sugar or spices.

It can be pickled by cooking or fermentation, which requires a longer standing time, during which bacteria and yeasts develop, turning the pickles into valuable probitotics with positive effects on the intestinal microbiota.

Different foods can be preserved in brines of varied composition, but if we are talking about pickles, the vinegar must be present in a high proportion. It is a process that lengthens the conservation of the raw material, modifying at the same time its organoleptic properties, changing its texture and its flavors, which are accentuated with the passage of time.

Therefore, they are small flavor bombs that enrich all kinds of dishes, widely used as a dressing or complement -for example, in sandwiches and hamburgers-, but also ideal to take on their own, especially as an aperitif or a healthy snack between meals.

What foods can be pickled?

Pickles are vegetable products of diverse nature. In principle, any vegetable, vegetable, fungus or fruit can be subjected to a pickling process, although there are some varieties that are more appreciated for the good results they offer. Firmer vegetables, with tougher skin and less watery pulp, resist fermentation in vinegar better.

Among the classic pickles we find cucumber -to make pickles-, carrots, onions and onions, garlic cloves, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage and other cabbages, chilli and chili peppers, lemons, asparagus, capers, beets, turnips and radishes . Fruits like citrus or even watermelon can also be pickled.

Other ingredients and process to follow

Vinegar is an acid that has the ability to transform raw foods, "cooking" them, in a way similar to the effect of lemon or lime in a ceviche. By adding other ingredients to the mixture, fermentation is facilitated, preservation is enhanced and different flavors and aromas are also obtained.

It is usual to incorporate sugar and a little salt, as well as dry spices that support long storage well, such as pepper or mustard grains, bay leaves or cloves. Fresh herbs are not recommended, as they can become bitter and dissolve in the liquid, although they can be added in shorter preservations. As for the type of vinegar, serve any variety as long as it is of quality. It all depends on personal taste and the intensity sought.

Carrot and turnip namasu salad.

In principle, we could pickle whole vegetables, as is done with pickles, however, to speed up the process and achieve a more homogeneous texture, it is advisable to cut the ingredients into thin slices or strips. The vegetables are placed directly in a suitable jar or container, the vinegar is mixed separately with the other ingredients and finally it is poured over the vegetables until they are completely covered.

Artisan pickles are usually not subjected to further cooking or pasteurization to avoid destroying beneficial bacteria. By keeping the pH of the liquid below 4.5, the conservation is extended for several weeks, being advisable to use the refrigerator.

Just by subjecting the vegetables to a vinegar bath for a few minutes we would already get a light express pickle, as in this version of the Japanese namasu salad. A product as particular as cucumber is completely transformed by slicing it very thinly to leave it marinating in vinegar.

Therefore, once we have mastered the basic quick procedure, we can pickle any vegetable that we have at home, an ideal resource to dispose of excess vegetables. As stated on Tasty, quick pickles are a sustainable and tasty way to take advantage of leftovers and leftovers from vegetables.

In quick pickling, a 50% vinegar and water brine is used as a base, and the proportion of the former can be increased to taste. It is also possible to combine different vinegars in the same elaboration. In either case, the best results will be obtained with premium ingredients and fresh vegetables.

How to Make Homemade Vegetable Pickles Quickly

Ingredients

For 1 units
  • Assorted vegetables leftovers or inedible parts, but in good condition 550 g
  • Apple or rice vinegar or white wine 250 ml
  • Laurel 3
  • Garlic clove 3
  • Sugar (three tablespoons) 40 g
  • Salt 35 g
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
  • Ice 475 g

How to make quick vegetable pickles

Difficulty: Medium
  • Total time 30 m
  • Elaboration 20 m
  • Cooking 10 m

With these amounts, approximately one liter of pickles will come out. Prepare one or more suitable jars, glass, clean and with lids in good condition, hermetically sealed. Wash with detergent soap and dry well; optionally they can be sterilized by boiling them in water or using the oven.

Cut vegetables or vegetable scraps as needed. You can play with the size, but trying not to use too large pieces so that they can fit better. Ideally, they can be eaten as is later, without having to cut or chop them. Fill the jar with them, leaving 1.5 cm of empty space at the top.

In a large pot, mix the vinegar with the salt, sugar, spices and crushed garlic. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and add the ice, mixing until completely melted, to cool.

Carefully fill the jars to the top, making sure that all the space between the vegetables is occupied so that they are completely covered. Close hermetically and shake a little to distribute the content more evenly.

Keep in the fridge. It can be consumed now or let it rest for a few days. It will keep cold for up to a month, preferably avoiding the door so as not to cause sudden changes in temperature.

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