Monday, October 27, 2008
These were sort of accidental pickles, because I had a lot of fresh produce that I was worried about going to waste. Also, they are not the kind of pickles that require canning or sterilization of jars—these are just refrigerator pickles that are pretty flexible for playing around with flavors and stuff. I made one kind with baby zucchini and another with watermelon radishes. Oh yes, watermelon radishes are back, available from my favorite French lady who sells them at the Morningside farmer’s market so I can look forward to having those in my life again. They’re just so pretty. And these baby zucchini were sort of amazing looking too—they were no bigger than about 1 ½-2” in length and had amazing patterns of yellow and green on them. They were adorable. So I pickled them.I decided to make the radish pickles more sour and the zucchini pickles more bread-and-butter sweet types. The lesson I learned is that it’s hard to make things sour without making them taste harsh, but we’ll get more into that in a minute. First I sliced up my baby zukes in half, almost cutting off my finger, as you can see.Then I made thin rounds of my dramatic-looking watermelon radishes.In a saucepan I combined 3 bay leaves with 1 cup white vinegar, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup salt, 2 tablespoons pickling spices, 1 tablespoon whole peppercorn and 1 teaspoon dill, and brought it to a boil for 4 minutes. I poured this mixture over the sliced watermelon radishes, as well as ¼ of a thinly sliced onion. For my zucchini, I returned to my now-empty pot and added in ½ cup regular sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, and 1/3 cup salt. Added 1 cup white vinegar and brought this all to a boil for 4 minutes, as before. Poured this all over a bowl with my sliced zucchini and about 8 cloves of garlic and let it sit for a few minutes while I packed up the radishes into a couple of glass jars. By then, the zucchini were a bit cooled off and ready to get packed up into jars as well. They sat in the fridge for 2 days, although they'd probably have been OK to eat within one day. These were kind of awesome--I think the zucchini was WAY better than the radish which was too harsh/sour, but as you can see, it's pretty flexible and fun to experiment with.