Back in 2017 we commented on the boom probiotics were experiencing, and at the end of the following year the forecasts pointed to the fermented and pickled products that were going to set trends in gastronomy. Far from being something new, pickle food It is one of the oldest cooking techniques that is definitely worth recovering. And it is perfectly compatible with the current rhythms of life, since homemade pickles can be made quickly and easily.
Cauliflower fillets with chimichurri sauce
What are pickles?
The popular variants, the vinegary 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 vinegar solution and other ingredients, such as sugar or spices.
It can pickling by cooking or fermentation, which requires more resting time, during which bacteria and yeasts develop that turn pickles into valuable probitotics with positive effects on the intestinal microbiota.
Different foods can be preserved in brines of varied composition, but if we talk about pickles, the vinegar must be present in a high proportion. It is a process that lengthens the conservation of raw material, while modifying its organoleptic properties, changing its texture and flavors, which are accentuated with the passage of time.
Therefore, they are small flavor bombs that enrich all kinds of dishes, widely used as dressing or add-on -for example, in sandwiches and hamburgers-, but also ideal to take on their own, especially as an aperitif or healthy snack between meals.
What foods can be pickled?
Pickles are vegetable products of diverse nature. In principle, any veggie, vegetable, mushroom, or fruit It can be subjected to a pickling process, although there are some varieties that are more appreciated for the good results they offer. Firmer, tougher-skinned vegetables with less watery pulp resist fermentation in vinegar better.
Among the classic pickles we find the cucumber -to make pickles-, carrots, onions and onions, garlic cloves, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage and other cabbages, chillies 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. Adding other ingredients to the mix fermentation is facilitated, the conservation is enhanced and different flavors and aromas are also obtained.
It is usual add sugar and a little salt, in addition to dry spices that withstand long conservation 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.
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 not usually subjected to further cooking or pasteurization to avoid destroying beneficial bacteria. By keeping the pH of the liquid below 4.5, conservation is lengthened 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 in Tasty, quick pickles are a sustainable and tasty way to take advantage of leftovers and spare parts of vegetables.
In quick pickling, a brine is used as a base. 50% vinegar and water, being able to increase the proportion of the first to taste. It is also possible to combine different vinegars in the same elaboration. In any case, the best results will be obtained with top quality ingredients and fresh vegetables.
How to Make Homemade Vegetable Pickles Quickly
With these amounts, approximately one liter of pickles will come out. Prepare one or more suitable glass jars, 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. The ideal is that 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 pour 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 so that the content is distributed 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.
With what to accompany the homemade pickles
We have already commented that pickles are perfect to eat as a snack, to serve as an aperitif or to add to banderillas and quick skewers, as in the famous gildas. They are a healthy dressing to complete salads, various bowls, stir fry, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, tacos, burritos or tostas.
Due to its crunchy texture, its aromatic power and intense flavor, they become a almost magical wildcard ingredient to give that extra point that is sometimes lacking in everyday meals, for example in vegetarian vegetable dishes. They can always serve as an express garnish for any meat or fish, and make the Russian salad a delight.
Photos | Unsplash – Jumpstory – Three if by bike – Stacy Spensley – Meal makeovers moms
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