I’m just pickled pink to kraut your acquaintance.

Yeah, I know the headline is a pretty big stretch and most of you are just shaking your heads. But if I got at least a few of you to smile, then my day is made!

Pickling and fermenting foods is about as old a means to preserve food as you will find. The Chinese were already fermenting cabbage when the Huns invaded, and they passed their expertise all over Asia. In Korea, kimchi has been made for over 300 years. And we certainly can’t forget miso in Japan, or sake for that matter. Now, here in the United States, kombucha has become all the rage.

In Eastern Europe pickling vegetables is almost an art form, and many meals come with a pickled vegetable salad. Scandinavians love themselves a nice pickled herring so much that instead of bubbly they celebrate New Years Eve with pickled herring! Deli’s in the states serve the ubiquitous pickled cucumber with almost every sandwich. I can’t imagine a Ruben without one.

I personally love pickled and fermented vegetables, kind of like how some people crave chocolate or chips…I crave a nice crunchy pickled cucumber.

The problem is trying to find these tasty treats without sugar. You would not believe how many jars at the grocery store have sugar in them. Now, of course there are sugar free options out there, and some are quite good. But they will never be as good as what you make at home, and it’s so easy. Below are a couple of recipes you can try, and the really nice thing about these is that they can be tweaked and adapted to your individual likes.

Fermented Cabbage

Recipe

  • 1 small to medium head green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Options for extra flavor include; caraway seeds, allspice berry, chili flakes.
  • 1 large resealable jar, thoroughly washed (you can find at any grocery store, or online as well.)

Directions

Quarter cabbage, and remove core. With the cabbage laying flat on one side and bottom of cabbage facing you, slice very thin strips (shred). When you get to the thicker, white part in the middle you will need to flatten the cabbage to finish. When all of the cabbage is shredded, combine with salt and any optional flavoring in a large bowl and thoroughly mix with your hands until the cabbage shows some bruising . Leave this covered at room temp for at least eight hours. For example have everything ready the night before, and toss together in the morning before you go to work. After it has sat in the bowl for the necessary time, you will see quite a bit of liquid. Place all of the cabbage and the liquid in the jar, seal and place on the counter in a cool place away from direct sunlight for one week, then put in the fridge for at least three weeks. It will stay good for months, and the flavor will even intensify as it continues to ferment.

Sauerkraut

Pickled Cucumber

Recipe

  • 2 medium English cucumbers (if you can get pickling cucumber then use instead) sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (optional, or even add more)
  • several mustard seeds
  • several whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup distilled vinegar (you can add more if you like a stronger flavor)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large resealable jar, thoroughly washed (you can find at any grocery store, or online as well.)

Directions

In a small sauce pan combine vinegar and all spices and seasonings. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, place all veggies into jar (you can make a salad with whatever doesn’t fit). Really pack them in tight. After the vinegar solution has simmered for about five minutes, remove from heat and carefully (very hot!) pour into jar. Let jar stand uncovered at room temp until completely cooled, then cover tightly and put in fridge. Your pickles will be ready in two weeks, and will last for months in the fridge.

Pickled cucumber

Well folks, I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. Now, go out there and give it a shot. You’ll ferment it if you don’t!

Cheers, Blue

Published by Blue

Husband, father, passionate about food and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

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