Friday, January 25, 2008

Pickled Pink

Dorky, I know. Couldn't help myself. Tickled pink is what I am in light of my new discovery--making pickles!

I am a worshipful devotee of pickles of all varieties. My grandparents literally stock extra pickles in their fridge when they know I am coming to town. Now that I have begun experimenting in the kitchen, with a long term goal of learning to make from scratch all the food items that I love and adore, pickles had to come up eventually.

I have already experimented with pickling of the international variety. This time, spurred on by encouraging posts from Smitten Kitchen and Orangette, I tackled the standard dill flavoured pickles we know and love in the United States.

It took about 20 minutes. Less even. I boiled up a cup of cider vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water, added a tablespoon of sugar, a few cloves of minced garlic, dill weed, and salt, and then decided to get creative and tossed in a few other items I thought might spice things up a little--mustard seed, peppercorns, cloves, and maybe some other stuff I don't remember. I let the spiced liquid simmer for a few minutes and then poured it over my carrots (the easiest thing I could find in the house to practice on). I let them cool and they went into the fridge overnight.

All in all, a good showing on the pickle front. Nice crunch, nice acidity level. Perhaps I tossed in those extra spices with a tad too much abandon; I would have liked the dill flavor to dominate a little more, but hey, that is what experimenting is for.

There are many more pickles to be attempted, both foreign and domestic (bread and butter, sweet, Japanese oshinko, Indian mango pickle, the list is endless...) Surely I'll get to them all eventually. Stay tuned.

Note: Those who have heard me lament previously about the fact that my kitchen is lopsided, have a look at the level of the brine in the pickle jar--there's the proof!


bee said...

there's a whole genre of pickles in india that are oil-based, and those that are water-based. i've so far stuck to the oil-based, but these water-based ones look much easier, healthier, and more versatile. thanks for the recipe.

shirin sahba said...

wow...i adore homemade pickles...nothing compares to them!
& they look so good in those mason jars...

Gillian said...

Perhaps a pickle-tasting event of some sort should be planned? Those look yummy! I also dig the picture.

amy said...

look at you making PICKLES! you're sure giving martha a run for her money! I would love to grow pickling cucumbers and pick them when they are young and still teeny to make cornichons. Or maybe you could do it for me???

ews said...

bee - Hopefully I will try some of those oil-based Indian pickles out in the future. I'll be sure to share how it goes!

shirin - Someday when I understand canning properly, maybe I will make you a pickle care package. Hmm, can pickles cross international borders?

gillian - Pickle tasting sounds like an outstanding event! Let's make it happen. Or at least get together and discuss the idea over brunch.

amy - You can do it! Straight from the fire escape garden to the jar! When summer comes maybe?

naseem said...

fresh dill?! am secretly a pickled carrot lover (don't think it's a typical iranian pickled vegetable... but i guess i'm not a typical iranian really). i'm excited to try it at home- THANKS for the recipe. any words of advice in my ventures?