They Can't Be That Easy Pickled Vegetables

That was my exact thought when I read Michael Ruhlman's recipe for naturally pickled vegetables, in his book, Ratio.  No way.  Don't I need to get my pressure cooker out?  Do something else??  That's IT?  Just make a simple brine and stick my vegetables in there?  Well, apparently yes, as it worked magnificently, beautifully and best of all, easily.  Though, this photo was taken after a good quantity of the vegetables had been removed and eaten.

You may be tired (all 2 of you) of hearing the ways I have been trying to use up my CSA veggies during the week, but this was another of those last ditch attempts. And, a great, quick alternative, or addition to salad for a side dish.

I had some bok choy, to which I added zucchini, onion, carrots, and a few other things.  Use what you have on hand.  Some Cauliflower would be delightful, as would your old standard, baby cucumbers.

Here is the recipe, adapted from Michael Ruhlman:

Basic Brine

20 oz. water (2 1/2 cups)
1 oz. kosher salt (about 2 tablespoons)
Chunks or thick slices of vegetables (such as carrots, zucchini, onion, bell peppers, celery, fennel, bok choy)
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1/2 chili pepper (optional or more as desired) or dash of red pepper flakes

You make a brine by combining salt in the water over high heat, stirring until dissolved.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator.  You can also dissolve your salt in half the amount of water and add the remaining as ice, to move things along faster (where a digital scale comes in handy).

When the brine is well chilled, add your vegetables and weight down so they are completely submerged.Cover well with plastic wrap.  I weighted mine down with a glass jar stopper, then wrapped with plastic and put a rubber band around that.  Be creative.  Leave it at room temperature (75 F or lower) for about a week.  This is Hawaii, so the room temperature thing was not happening.  I left it out at night only, and refrigerated during the day.

Then, voila, pickles!  And, not at all fussy or complicated.  After this lovely mix, plain old cucumber ones will be totally boring.  Trust me.  Next time I may even get more creative with the spices.  Try some kaffir lime leaves or zest in it, or a bit of lemon grass bulb, maybe galangal or fennel fronds.


Kirsten Lindquist said...

I love quick pickles and I too have a CSA box that overflows! Thanks for the reminder!

Claudia said...

Yes, I've made sauerkraut, kim chee, and even these mixed ones before, but it's been awhile, and meantime you forget just how easy it is.