Pickling 101: your how-to guide
Dating back almost 4,000 years, pickling was used as a process for preservation. Today, pickling is used by restaurant and home chefs alike to not only preserve food, but to add new flavors and depth to their dishes. Vinegar pickling is very simple and only requires 24 hours until it can be consumed.
Here in the farm kitchen we never use preservatives, artificial flavors, or dyes, unlike what is found in many of the store bought pickled varieties. Our farm kitchen often pickles beets, onions, carrots, and cucumbers. However, you can also pickle other produce such as pears, apples, and even eggs! Be brave and get creative by adding different spices, herbs, and maybe even mixing vinegars, the possibilities are endless.
One of our favorite ingredients to pickle this time of year is Zucchini. It packs a punch with flavor and always is a showstopper when added to your dishes. Below is a basic recipe for pickling zucchini ribbons. Feel free to tweak it to fit your taste.
What you need:
- 2 wide-mouth pint jars, sterilized
- 2 lids and rings, sterilized
- sauce pan
- 1 lb organic zucchini, sliced into ribbons
- 1 small organic yellow onion, sliced
- 2 T Redmond kosher salt
- 1 c organic, raw apple-cider vinegar*
- 1 c water
- ⅓ c granulated sugar (can decrease, if desired)
- 1 ½ t dry mustard
- 1 ½ t mustard seeds
- 1 t turmeric (can use freshly grated, if desired)
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Wash jars and lids with hot soapy water and rinse well. Dry completely.
- Using a mandolin, cut zucchini into ribbons (vertically) and onion into slices (horizontally) at 1/16”.
- Place zucchini and onion in a wide bowl and sprinkle with salt.
- Fill bowl with ice water to cover and let sit for 45 minutes. (this step is optional, but highly recommended)
- Drain and pat dry.
- Pack zucchini and onion tightly into jars, leaving a bit of room at the top.
- Add additional spices and herbs to jar, if desired.
- Bring vinegar, sugar, water, dry mustard, mustard seeds, and turmeric to a boil in a medium pot over high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3-4 minutes. **It is better to underheat than overheat your brine.** Let cool to room temp.
- Pour brine into jars covering ½” above zucchini.
- Tap jars on the counter to remove any air bubbles. You may need to add a bit more brine to the jar.
- Cover and chill at least 24 hours before serving.
- Pickled zucchini can be kept in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
*Watch out for bubbles. If you see bubbles in your container, it means the pickling has gone wrong and bacteria is now growing in your jar.
*1:1 vinegar to water ratio is standard, feel free to switch it up for more vinegar flavor or less.