Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Simple Refrigerator Pickles

I go crazy at the farmer's market and almost always buy more than I can use in just a few days. I ran across this simple way of pickling vegetables in a couple of Japanese and Vietnamese cookbooks years ago and use it every summer to have crisp and cool vegetables with almost every meal. They last in the fridge for at least a week or two--to be honest I've always eaten them before they went bad, so I'm not really sure how long they'd last if I left them!

  • 1 LB pickling vegetables (I've used carrot, daikon, and cucumber over the years, pictured are the carrot and cucumber)
  • 1 TB kosher or sea salt
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (try rice vinegar if you want more authentically asian pickles)
  • Cut the vegetables into the desired shape. I shred carrots and daikon as if for coleslaw, and slice the cucumbers long and thin.
  • Put the vegetables in a mixing bowl and mix in the salt.

  • Cover the vegetables with a plate that is about the same diameter as the bottom of the mixing bowl and place something heavy on the plate to press the water out of the vegetables--I use some old weights from a weight machine that aren't getting any other use! Leave it sitting for at least 45 minutes.

  • You should end up with a lot of vegetable juice.

This is one of the few flavorings I don't save--too salty!
  • Whisk together the sugar and vinegar, until it is completely dissolved. Some recipes I've used say to bring the sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan and some don't. I usually do, as much as anything because the first recipe I ever used said to, and I've gotten in the habit.
  • Drain and rinse the vegetables in a colander and then put in a quart size ziploc bag.
  • Pour the sugar and vinegar mixture over the vegetables and place in the refrigerator. Carrots and daikon should be refrigerated for about 24 hours before they are ready to serve, however the cucumbers are ready in about 4 to 6 hours.

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