We’re so used to pickled cucumbers (i.e., pickles) with our juicy burgers, sandwiches, or just as a snack, that it's easy to forget all the other delicious foods that can be pickled. From proteins like eggs or pork, to fruits and vegetables, pickling adds a new dimension to your favorite foods and can be done in as little as ten minutes. You might even be overlooking great pickling options when you visit your local farmers market: giardiniera is a very popular Italian mix of pickled vegetables like carrots, celery and the all-important star, cauliflower.
In addition to adding a balance of flavor, pickled foods benefit from being low in calories, since they are generally unsweetened and contain no added fats. Use pickled vegetables in a banh mi sandwich where they add a crunch to the soft fatty pork or in a cheesesteak sandwich where a spicy pickled pepper relish cuts through the fatty flavors of the cheese and steak.
Pickled fruit and vegetables are great to put out as a snack for guests and they are a great compliment to cheese plates or main courses. Pickled peaches provide a nice counterpoint to cold roast meats, and pickled fruit of various kinds also goes well with some desserts.
Pickling is very simple: pack your fruit or vegetable into jars (make sure they are as packed as you can get them without smashing them), bring your brining liquid — in its simplest form just water, salt, vinegar, and sugar, though many herbs and spices may be added — to a boil, pour the mixture into the jars, make sure the lid is on tight, and you’ll have pickles in no time.
Try pickled artichokes in this refreshing and delicious pickled artichoke salad — an elegant way to start a special summer dinner get-together. A fast, easy pickle gives these artichokes some extra flavor, while a mandoline makes quick work of them. Sliced thinly, these pickled artichokes will make for a show stopping presentation in this salad or even baked into your favorite vegetable tart! For the Pickled Artichoke Salad recipe, click here.
As a general rule, pickling should be done when the produce you're using is at its peak and is therefore not only best but cheapest. Try using pickled asparagus in pressed sandwiches or antipasto salads. For the Pickled Asparagus recipe, click here.