As Alton Brown says, “If you’ll just take a little time to learn a few basic procedures, not only the whole produce section, but the whole world, will be your pickle … and good eats.” It’s true: Quick pickles all sort of follow a pattern. You’ll be pickling pretty much anything you want in no time at all!
I enjoyed the process of making these five recipes by Mr. Brown, but waiting a week to try them was a little daunting. I’m a “want it now” kinda girl. I was good, though, and waited the full week before digging in.
CUCUMBER PICKLES, SWEET AND SOUR
I made one jar of sweet and one jar of sour cucumber pickles. They have the same basic ingredients; one just has a little more sugar than the other.
Slice up the cucumbers and onions and measure out your spices.
Put the cucumbers and onions in jars.
Make sure you alternate stacking so you have a little cucumber and onion in every layer.
Simmer liquids with the spices and pour in the jar.
Final pickles. Refrigerate for a week to ripen.
Verdict: The sweet ones were WAY too sweet. I don’t like sweet pickle to start with, but these were not "good eats" to me. The sour pickles, however, were a definite winner. Next time, I would cut the sugar to a quarter of a cup, but they were really delicious!
Next up: cauliflower. Yes, you can pickle cauliflower … Who knew? (Not me, anyway.)
The liquid process is still the same; we’re just changing up the spices a bit.
Crush all the spices up with a mortar and pestle.
Toast them in a pan with vegetable oil.
Verdict: These were surprisingly good! I wasn’t sure what to expect, never having pickled cauliflower before, but the spices were on point. Good eats!
And now on to the carrots. I was most excited to try these!
Same technique as with the other pickles, but with carrots and chilies.
Verdict: These were a bit of a letdown. They had a good flavor, but weren’t nearly spicy enough. I would double the spice next time. They have definite potential.
Finally, fruit. Never would I have thought to pickle fruit, but this is what I love about making all these recipes, you get to try new things! Again same basic pickling principle as with the veggies.
The mix: pear, plum, lemon, ginger, sugar, mint, and rice wine vinegar.
Verdict: These were not bad. Not my favorite thing, but an interesting flavor, sweet and tangy. A good summer dessert, and definitely refreshing!
There you have it, Pickles Five Ways. Are you now inspired to try pickling on your own?
Sarah 'n Spice
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