Almost every food culture in the world pickles something, though that something and the seasonings used to pickle it can vary dramatically. Pickling is one of the oldest methhods of cooking/preserving food. It makes for seasonal eating year round in places where fresh produce may be limited. Pickling also add another demension to the flavors and intricacy’s of a dish. Pickling are our way to preserve nature and change its structure. Pickling started centuries ago in India in order to preserve ingredients. Today, pickled foods are still a tasty part of our culinary tradition, and we are so fond of them because they add tang, color, texture, variety and add interest to other dishies.
I bring all this up because I planted Cucumber & Radish seeds in my garden at home and they are almost ready for picking. So I gathered a couple of of my favorites.
Lebanese Radish Pickles
1 # mixed radishes, washed & trimmed
2 cups white wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp sumac
1 tbsp kosher salt
-slice all the radishes very thinly, plce in bowl and set aside.
– mix the remaining indredients in a separate bowl and pour over the radishes. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes.
-as the radishes marinate, they will soften and be able to sink further into the marinate for at least two days, until ready to use.
Pickled Baby Kirby Cucumbers
15 baby cucumbers
1/4 cup kosher salt
5 each black peppercorns
10 each green coriander seeds, toasted
3 each black cardamom pods, toasted whole
7 each green cardamom pods, toasted whole
2 each bay leaves
1/2 liter champagne vinegar
-lay the cucumbers flat on the bottom of a container and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 18 hours.
-rinse the cucumbers and drain to remove all the salt. Submerge the cucumbers in ice water and leave them for two hours. This step will harden the flesh, which in turns gives them their crunch.
-place all the spices in the bottom of a large, sterilized 1 liter mason jar. Pack the cucumbers into the jar, placing the bay leaves on the top. Fill the jar with vinegar and seal. Store in a dark pantry for 40 days. “IT’S WORTH THE WAIT”
Jewish 1/2 Sour- 1/2 Garlic Pickles
It’s a ridiculously easy process that takes about five minutes to make and one day to be ready.
Combine in a clean tomato sauce jar (28 oz. or so mason jar)
4 each pickling cukes, halved lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, halved and crushed
12 each whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin seed
20 oz water
-combine all ingredents, execept cucumbers and bring to a boil.
-fill a 28oz jar with sliced cucumbers. Pour the liquid mixture over the cucumbers, making sure everything is covered. Screw the lid on tight and agitate the jar for about 10 seconds. Leave the jar on the counter for 24-36 hours, agitating once more in between.
These pickles lose their crispness after another day or so of sitting around, so it’s best to eat them right away, or you can put them in the fridge to extend their life.