Wait, You Can Pickle That?!Food
Nothing beats an elaborate charcuterie plate – any time of the year. One of the key elements to balance out all of the flavors is pickle. Sharp or sweet, pickled vegetables add an element that is unique, refreshing, and fun. While it may seem out of your wheelhouse to pickle your own veggies at home, it’s surprisingly simple. We met with Chef Zimmerman of Merkin Vineyards in Scottsdale, Arizona for the step-by-step process, and found out that you can pickle… well, just about anything!
FIRST – Prepare Your Vegetables
In our meeting Chef Zimmerman grabbed cucumbers to start – but then shocked us by reaching for leaks and onions. “This is where you can use your creativity,” he smiles. “You can do all types of vegetables!” He follows by setting them into a colander and adding kosher salt to pull out the water inside of them. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. “If you have harder vegetables like carrots,” he advises,”try blanching them first and then adding your salt.”
NEXT – Build A Brine
Add your choice of spices to a dry pan and toast until golden brown. This is your starting point. From here, the next key element is vinegar. Using high-quality vinegar is paramount. Add two cups of water, two tablespoons of salt, and three tablespoons of sugar – then, simmer. One of the most exciting parts is using spices as a colorant to turn the veggies a different color and add a splash of interest. Wow!
LAST – Time To Jar
Once in the jar, pour your brine directly on top. It’s up to you on if you’d like to keep the spices in the jar – but Chef says, “I kind of like the spices in it!” For this part, there is one important step to remember: when filling the jar with the brine, leaving about an inch of space at the top. “In case they expand,” he explains, “You don’t want to see it blow up on you.” Place the lid on top, and stick it in the refrigerator.
They can be used in dishes as quickly as the next day – but will last seven to ten days in the fridge.
Add pickled veggies to your dishes, party platters and more!