I wouldn’t have thought of making pickles in the first place – if not for a friendly farmers market vendor from Bilpin who sells home-grown veggies at a local market. One day, she had a whole array or just-dug-up, earth-covered baby root veggies: turnips, baby carrots, and black radishes.
What I can possibly do with these, I asked. “Well, you can pickle them,” she said. How interesting! I’m always game to make something I haven’t tried before. So I bought the whole lot of those dirt-covered babies to take back home.
Apparently pickles are easier to make than jam or other preserves, because bacteria hates vinegar. So all you need is vinegar, water, some salt and spices for the brine. The jars can happily live on a kitchen counter or pantry, even without proper canning. Best of all, they are ready to eat in a couple of days.
Here’s my first attempt. I used 100% apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, a small amount of salt, and bay leaves. I didn’t even cook the baby vegetables. How cute are these? A day later, they sort of softened in the vinegar, and were a little less crunchy. Delicious, yes, but sour!
A few days later, by chance, my son “discovered” these hidden carrots growing in our backyard. The previous residents must have planted them and left them for us to eat. And I thought they were weeds!
How funny are all these odd-shaped carrots?
Have you ever eaten carrots straight from the garden? They are incredible. Nothing like store-bought ones, putting those packaged “organic” ones from the supermarket to shame.
After munching on a few straight away, I made more pickles with the remainder, with a bit of turnips mixed in for colour variation.
So pretty! This time I used 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar (with mustard seeds and bay leaves). They were not vinegary enough though…. I think 75% vinegar and 25% water might be more to my liking. I think I might be getting hooked on home preserving.