Sunday, May 22, 2016

In a bit of a Pickle - the art of Pickle making

Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preparation
Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preparation and was developed to preserve foods that were either exotic, seasonal or  limited by nature and cultivation. Early pickling can be traced back to India around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. The process was created to overcome the problem of low food production during the hot, dry summer months and the need to preserve excess food produced during the Winter. 

 Pickling has been used throughout the world and the ingredients vary slightly from one country - often from one región or village - to another. Many fruits and vegetables are used such as, unripe fruit, lemon, tamarin, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, soybeans, ginko nuts, plums, apricots, apples and tomatoes. Condiments such as miso, ginger, garlic, chilli, or peppercorns are often added for a hot and characteristic flavour. Animal food was also pickled in many countries including, eggs, oysters, prawns, chicken, fish and lamb.

Interestingly, Pickles in the West generally have sweet, sour, and salty flavors, while Indian pickles are more pungent in taste to help disperse heat.

Health Benefits of Pickles

Full of essential vitamins and minerals – these vital micronutrients protect from disease, help build immunity, strengthen the bones, nourish vision, and improve anemia and blood conditions.

Full of antioxidants - As the vegetables or unripe fruits are stored fresh without cooking, the antioxidants present are preserved. 

Great source of probiotics and gut friendly bacteria - Naturally fermented salt pickles encourage the growth of friendly bacteria, which replenishes the numbers in the digestive system and restores health.

Diabetes Control:  vinegar based pickles can improve the hemoglobin levels in diabetic patients

Improve mental health

Cancer risk reduction

Inflammation relief 

Improves digestion, protects the liver and helps heal ulcers

Some Quick and Easy Pickle Récipes

Quick Homemade Cucumber Pickles with Fresh Dill

4-6 small pickling cucumbers
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 sprig fresh dill
1/2 cup  Apple cider vinegar
1 ½  cups  water
2 tablespoons sea salt
1/4 onion sliced in half moons
1 teaspoon peppercorns (optional)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)

Slice the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise
Place the cucumbers and fresh dill into a bowl or a jar.
Place the salt, vinegar, wáter, garlic, peppercorn and mustard sedes into a pan.
Bring to a boíl on a médium flame.
Pour boiling liquid over the cucumbers, making sure they're entirely submerged. Place a slice of onion on top of the cucumbers to help them all stay beneath the liquid.
Leave on the counter overnight to marinate
Store covered in the fridge.

Cauliflower Pickles

3 cups cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon dry dill
3-4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1.5 tablespoons sea salt
1-2  teaspoons ume vinegar
2-3 cups filtered water

Wash a jar with very hot, soapy water.
Cut the cauliflower into florets
Finely slice the garlic clove, and add to jar with herbs and peppercorn.  
Add cauliflower, pressing down firmly into jar so the florets are tightly packed, leaving 1" space at the top of the jar.
Dissolve the salt and ume vinegar in 2 cups of water, and add to the jar.  
Add additional water as necessary to cover vegetables.  Leave a 1" space at the top of the jar.
Leave to sit for 3-5 days at room temperature, in a cool place away from the sun.  In warmer temperature, 3 days is usually enough.  
Test them and to see if they have a good pickly flavor.  If you want a stronger flavor, leave them out longer, up to 7 days depending on the temperature.  
Open the jar over the sink as it can fizz and bubble over.
Store the ready to eat pickles in the fridge.  

Pickled Cabbage and Apple Delight
This is more of a side dish but has a wonderful pickled flavor

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic sliced
1/2 onion diced
1 green apple, cored and cut into small chunks
½  medium-sized head red cabbage, shredded
pinch ground cloves (optional)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Spring water
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped roasted walnuts

Place the oil into a pan and warm on medium heat, then add the garlic. Sauté quickly and then add the onions. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the Apple. Saute for another minute.
Add the shredded cabbage, cloves, apple cider vinegar, and enough wáter to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add a lid and bring to a boíl., Simmer on a low flame until the cabbage is soft, about 20-30 minutes.
Gentle toss the cabbage from time to time to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper mix gently and serve garnished with walnuts. The flavor of this dish improves if served the following day.

1 comment:

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