By TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator, Hayley Leonard
With summer coming to an end, you may have found yourself with an overabundance of vegetables from your garden. Rather than rushing to incorporate them into meals before they go bad, why not try pickling them? For nearly 5,000 years, humans have been pickling as a way to preserve foods, whether it be fruits, vegetables, or meats.
“Pickling” is a general term that refers to preserving food in an acidic medium. Traditionally, pickling was done through fermentation, which relies solely on salt and the beneficial bacteria, lactobacilli, to convert the sugars and starches naturally present in food into lactic acid. Fermented foods offer an array of health benefits due to being packed with probiotics. However, if the idea of fermenting your own foods seems daunting to you, don’t worry! You can still achieve the same great taste by using vinegar as the acidic medium. Vinegar pickles should be canned if you plan to store them in your pantry long term, but canning is not necessary if you choose to store them in your refrigerator. Making refrigerator pickles is as simple as boiling a vinegar based brine, pouring it over the foods you wish to pickle, and sticking the jar in the fridge. Refrigerator pickles will last up to two months and are ready to be eaten in as little as 5-7 days.
Pickling is a simple way to cut down your food waste and add a zest to any meal. Fresh pickles on a burger? Nothing better. Pickled mushrooms to dress your Bloody Mary? Yes, please! Pickled red onions on your taco? Delicious. Pickled peach salsa? Why not? The options are endless when it comes to pickling, but one thing I can guarantee is that you will never look at store bought pickled foods the same.
Interested in learning how to pickle your own veggies? Join us Saturday, October 20, 2018 for a pickling workshop at Davis-Douglas Farm in Plymouth. Registration and more information can be found on our events page at wildlandstrust.org/events.