Monday, July 11, 2011

In a Pickle

Peter Piper may have picked a peck of pickled peppers, but the rest of us are not so lucky. Our vegetables don't grow pre-pickled. Pickling is merely a process of preserving food by brining (using salt and water to ferment) and storing in an acid (vinegar). So, it's understandable that when people find themselves swimming in a sea of the produce, they often turns to pickling to preserve the summer bounty (not to mention save freezer space!). Learn to pickle cucumbers here.

Pickling actually goes back way further in history than I would have expected. Historians place the advent of pickling to over 2,000 years before the common era. Mesopotamian deli, anyone? Like many foods with historical roots, pickles were not only viewed as food but also important for good health. Ancient Egyptians used pickles for beauty; Ayurveda - an ancient Indian medicinal tradition - recommends pickles to aid digestion; during the age of exploration pickles provided a much needed supply of vitamin C to combat scurvy.

So why are we talking about pickling? Well, I recently came into some cucumbers (ok, so they didn't just magically appear; I sought them out). Now I never really cared much for pickles as a youngster, but recently they've begun to grow on me. While there are a multitude of ways to take your pickles - sweet or dill; cucumbers or chard stems - you will find a constant formula in the recipes: sea salt + vinegar + seasonings. Looking for inspiration ... and an actual recipe? Visit these wonderful blogger below:

Quick pickled zucchini - 101 Cookbooks
Pickled sugar snap peas - Smitten Kitchen
Carrot and ginger quickie pickle - Chocolate and Zucchini
Pickled beets - Fat Free Vegan

Have you ever tried pickling something or have something you really want to try?

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