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pickled veg abovepickled veg bits

I love that pickling is making a comeback, and for all the right reasons–anyone can pickle, you can pickle just about anything, it’s inexpensive, and it’s a great way to enjoy raw or nearly raw foods.

As a child, I grew up eating pickled herring, beans and asparagus spears. I also ate regular dill pickles, which I actually didn’t crave during my two pregnancies, but became addicted to years later. (Too much of a good thing is bad, right?) But despite the fact that pickled foods have been around for eternity, this past year, I’ve noticed that many of the fancy and/or hip farm-to-table themed restaurants in our area now offer an assortment of pickled vegetables on their menus. We have a favorite little restaurant in the Russian River Valley wine region called The Backyard. They serve consistently good food, offer a nice selection of wines and if the weather is nice, you can enjoy your meal outside under a giant California oak. (Does life get any better than that?) The last three times we’ve eaten at The Backyard, they have served a delightful mix of pickled things. I know “things” isn’t very descriptive, but the pickled items have included everything from watermelon rinds to shitake mushrooms–all delicious and perfectly pickled.

Sadly, we don’t make it up to the wine country often enough. So instead of enjoying pickled vegetables only on occasion, I decided I needed to enjoy them on a daily basis. As I mentioned, you can pickle just about anything, and you can flavor the pickling many different ways. I have never appreciated sweet pickles or sweetly pickled vegetables, so this recipe is for your classic savory, dill flavor.

I photographed two different batches for this posting, one in which I used carrots, daikon radish, and red onion, the other in which I used beets, carrots, and daikon. With both batches, I flavored them simply with salt, yellow mustard seeds (which you also eat once they’re pickled), garlic and bay leaves. Provided you use clean jars to store your pickled vegetables, they will keep refrigerated for two weeks.

pickled veg side



5 cups vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes, celery, watermelon rind, mushrooms, onions, etc.)

3 cups distilled white or cider vinegar
3 cups filtered water
2 tbsp + 2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tbsp sugar
1-2 tbsp mixed herbs, such as bay leaves, garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns, thyme, etc.
Bring a very large pot of water to boil on one burner. On a second burner, stir the vinegar, water, salt and sugar together in a large non-reactive pan and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil, wash, peel and chop your vegetables keeping them sorted by kind. Once the water is boiling, add in batches of the vegetables that need to be lightly cooked before pickling, such as beets and carrots. I like to cook beets for 3 minutes and carrots for 1-2. If you cook them in batches, you can use a slotted spoon to remove one batch before putting in the next. I don’t think onions, celery or daikon need to be cooked at all prior to pickling.
Mix the vegetables in a large bowl, spoon them into clean glass jars, and add in the mixed herbs. When the water/vinegar mixture is ready, pour it over the vegetables making sure to cover them completely. Screw on the lids and set in the refrigerator.
Your delicious, pickled vegetables will be ready in 4 hours although they are even better a day or more later! You can serve them with an assortment of charcuterie or cheeses  and/or some rustic bread and Dijon mustard.
pickled veg whole 

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