Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pickle Me This?

What does Enjoyable Me like to do on a cold rainy Saturday afternoon, get my pickle on of course!  I love pickles; anytime I see those large jars filled with cucumber submarines bobbing around in garlicky brine I just can't help myself.  That sliver hanging out next to your sandwich, I'm going to eat it and if it wasn't for the pickled veggies in a Bloody Mary I wouldn't touch the things.  True story, I even drink the pickle juice, don't judge until you've tried it.  But you get my point, I love all things pickled.  I have never actually tried to pickle anything myself but after munching on ,some amazing pickled vegetables in the last couple months I new I was going to have to give it a go.  So after some research into pickling brines I came up with one that I thought would work well for a variety of vegetables.  I decided to go with: cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, and garlic.

The process of pickling is really easy and the fun part is you can experiment with adding different things to your brine to get different tastes, since this was my first try I went with a simple more traditional brine.

Pickling Brine
-8 cups water
-10 cups white vinegar
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup salt
-6 tbsp of black peppercorns
-3 tbsp of mustard seeds
-3 bay leaves
-desired vegetables

Directions: In a large pot bring your water and vinegar to a boil, add in the remaining ingredients making sure your sugar dissolves completely.  Fill your jars with the desired vegetables.  I used small carrots sliced lengthwise, cucumbers cut into 1/4 inch slices, asparagus, green beans, and cauliflower cut into bite size chunks.  You can also add in other herbs to your jars at this point, I did one with fresh dill and garlic but I have seen people use cinnamon sticks and even coffee beans.  Pour the hot brine into the jars making sure that the vegetables are fully covered, cover with lid (I did not seal my jars since I was planning on refrigerating and eating them in the near future but if you want to seal the jars for later use, please use a proper jarring method).  Once the jars have cooled to room temperature place them in the refrigerator, you can eat your pickles immediately but I suggest letting them sit overnight before enjoying.  The longer they sit in the brine the more flavorful they get, especially the harder vegetables like carrots.

The pickled veggies turned out wonderful!!  We have already eaten one jar and I am trying to pace myself so that they aren't gone by the end of the week.  On a somewhat sour note, I was really hoping to attend the Healthy Living Summit this coming August but the tickets sold out in one day, I guess there is always next year.

I'm pretty sure having all of these pickled goodies around gives me the perfect excuse for a Bloody Mary bar this weekend : )

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