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Save Me For Later (Pickled Carrots, Cucumber and Red Onion)

Sometimes you just don't get around to using all your fresh produce on time. That's usually the case with me and I really hate waste or throwing away food just because I didn't get to use it on time. One of the best ways to avoid throwing away food is to preserve it in various ways, turning fruits into jams and preserves or simply pickling fruits and vegetables to be able to enjoy them later. These are not new techniques, preserving food in these methods predates the refrigerator actually.  So I spent my Saturday morning pickling a few things. I had a few too many carrots, some cucumber and red onions that I can use on sandwiches and other dishes later.  So no cooking was involved, just heating up a few things and bottling.  I always keep old glass jars for such instances. 

 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BRINE

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Bay leaves ( about 3 in a jar)
  • Fresh garlic ( 2-3 cloves in a jar)
  • 1 Tsp of Black peppercorns
  • Herbs of your choice to flavour your pickles.  Try using fresh herbs, fennel,dill, mustard seeds etc (this is optional) 

PREPARATION

Prepare the jars.

Wash glass jars and lids with warm soapy water and rinse well.  I prefer to rinse them in extremely hot water and then allow that to evaporate before finishing off with a paper towel.

Making the brine.

all ingredients into a saucepan, except for the black peppercorns, fresh garlic and bay leaves. Stir over medium heat to dissolve the sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.

Packing the vegetables.

- Prepare your veggies as you please.  Things like carrots should be peeled in my opinion. Slice cucumbers either length ways or into slices.

- Pack into a jar along with the garlic, bay leaves and black peppercorns.

- Pour the brine making sure you cover the vegetables.

 

Sealing the jars

I prefer to take the filled jars and place them in a boiling water bath to raise the temperature of the content.  You'll see any air trapped inside rise to the surface.  Agitate the bottles a bit to make sure all the air moves to the top.

Take out the jars and lightly tap on the counter and then screw on the caps immediately.  You can put the bottle back in the hot water for a few minutes after sealing with the cap that will give a much tighter seal allowing for longer preservation.

Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.

You can keep unopened pickled veg in your pantry shelf for about 6-8 weeks or once opened in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

The key thing to pickling is the brine, a solution of water, vinegar, sugar and salt.  That's what will stop your vegetables from aging and allow you to enjoy them for longer.  Depending on the amount of brine you need, I have worked out that it's a ratio of equal parts vinegar and water. You can always adjust this to suit your taste. I usually add a clove or two of garlic, black peppercorns and always bay leaves and in this case some fresh sage.  This is just a basic brine solution, feel free to add herbs as you feel.

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