Time to Make the Pickles!
Pickling, and its “sister” process, fermenting, have long been used to preserve foods. Before the arrival of refrigeration and artificial preservatives, these cooking techniques were critical to ensuring safe food—and even survival during the long winter months—for many civilizations.
In addition to vegetables and fruits (think pickled peaches and watermelon rind), meat, too, was often pickled. For this article let’s just stick with veggies—I’m not feeling that adventurous.
Every culture has its own version of the pickle. Kimchi is the pungent Korean fermented vegetable mix; the Filipino version, achara or atsara, calls for green papaya and ginger; and what would hot dogs and pastrami be without German sauerkraut?
My pickle pick growing up was the kosher half sour. I loved going to the deli and picking out a giant one.
When home gardens and farmers’ markets are overflowing with end-of-the-summer and early-fall produce, my thoughts turn to how to capture this bounty and prolong its enjoyment. Pickling is an easy and fun way to do that. And, it’s a great way to get your kids into the kitchen with you.
There are hundreds of pickle versions to choose from, and more than a few ways to accomplish the pickling. I like this easy way, especially to get kids interested and involved. It is fast and will hold their attention from prepping to pickling to eating. It is especially fun to start with a special trip to the farmers’ market to choose your vegetables.
The tangy results of your efforts will be appreciated by the cooks as well as by friends and family members fortunate enough to come to your table. A beautiful jar of handmade pickles also makes a very special gift. Gifting their very own pickles is bound to make a kid feel proud. Homemade tags for your jars make these pickles even more personal.
So, grab a few Mason jars and get to pickling while the bounty is in full swing!